Chapter 6: Crime Mapping Futures

Applications in crime mapping are becoming increasingly sophisticated and integrated. The hallmark of the first decade or so of the modern era of crime mapping was the use of geographic information systems (GIS). Perhaps the next decade will see the integration of previously separate technologies such as global positioning systems (GPS), orthophotography, digital photography, digital videography, and a wide range of local databases with relevance to policing—and the World Wide Web. Another realm of potential progress lies in forecasting. A remarkable indication of the level of interest in crime mapping and related technologies was contained in President Clinton's State of the Union Address on January 19, 1999, in which he said:

Tonight, I propose a 21st century Crime Bill to deploy the latest technologies and tactics . . . [to] put up to 50,000 more police on the street in the areas hardest hit by crime, and then to equip them with new tools from crime—mapping computers to digital mug shots. [Emphasis added.]

While it is not possible to explain or even identify all the innovative crime mapping applications in the field or under development, the following are outlined below to provide a sense of the kinds of methods and technologies that are likely to find increasing acceptance in the years ahead: geographic profiling, which has already found wide recognition and is representative of a method that creatively combines various tools of spatial analysis; high-resolution GIS; statistical methods and forecasting; digital aerial photography; and the integration of GIS and GPS.


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Mapping Crime: Principle and Practice, by Keith Harries, Ph.D., December 1999