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NIJ crime mapping resources
The ability to visualize how crime is distributed across the landscape (i.e., crime mapping) gives analysts and policymakers a graphic representation of crime and its related issues. Simple maps help law enforcement leaders direct patrols to areas where they are most needed. Complex maps help policymakers and investigators observe trends and respond more intelligently to changing issues. For example, detectives may use maps to understand the hunting patterns of serial criminals, determine where these offenders might live, and identify their next likely target.
Modern geographic information system (GIS) software can produce versatile electronic maps that combine databases of reported crime locations with a variety of other databases. Maps also can be generated to correlate crime with vacant housing units, schools, or parks; income level of a census tract; patterns of car thefts; and locations of ?chop shops.?
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) funds research to develop new mapping techniques and find solutions by using maps. NIJ-funded researchers have combined maps with multiple databases to understand the impact of sex offender registration laws, the ebb and flow of drug markets, and how offenders ?journey to crime? (i.e., commit crimes in relation to where they live).
Crime analysts can receive crime mapping training through an NIJ-funded resource, the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center?Rocky Mountain.
NIJ hosts a major conference devoted to crime mapping. The conference brings researchers and practitioners together to share their concerns, collaborate on problem-solving issues, and explore the newest techniques.
The Ninth Crime Mapping Research Conference (to be held March 28?31, 2007, in Pittsburgh) will emphasize the benefits and challenges of combining classical statistics with GIS techniques to produce more comprehensive approaches to measuring the multidimensional factors that contribute to or repel crime across space.
More information about the conference can be found on NIJ’s crime mapping Web site.
The following resources and publications are also available:
OJJDP expanding crime and resource mapping capabilities
Since 2005, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), with the support of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, has been developing a geographic information sharing issues-based management system. In early September 2006, OJJDP launched the Socioeconomic Mapping and Resource Topography (SMART) System, which maps national archival datasets and allows the user to analyze the relationship between social and economic factors and rates of crime and delinquency. The SMART System will allow decisionmakers at the federal, state, and local levels to make informed choices about how they allocate scarce resources.
This effort builds on, but goes beyond, the use of crime and asset mapping for analysis and planning purposes that has been piloted in high crime areas under the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) Project Safe Neighborhoods, a gun law enforcement initiative; the National Institute of Justice’s MAPS program; and the Community Capacity Development Office’s Weed and Seed data center. Whereas those efforts focus on developing geographic information sharing mapping capacity outside of DOJ, the OJJDP system differs in the following ways:
Communications interoperability issues addressed in tech guide
Successful interagency, interdisciplinary, and interjurisdictional voice and data communications among our Nation’s police, fire, and emergency medical services are essential for reducing crime and enhancing public safety. If the police and fire services within a jurisdiction cannot communicate with each other during an emergency, or if they are unable to communicate with their counterparts in other jurisdictions, their safety and that of the public is at great risk. Interoperability projects, however, can be costly and complex.
A new technical guide from the COPS Office, designed for the agency executive or project manager, provides background on communications interoperability and information on the tools for carrying out the technology initiatives that make interoperability possible. This new guide is a companion to the earlier COPS-published Law Enforcement Tech Guide: How to plan, purchase, and manage technology (successfully!). The companion guide presents best practices in strategic information technology (IT) planning and procurement, reveals pitfalls to avoid, and expands on sources of information that will provide law enforcement with the tools they need to achieve their IT goals.
The COPS Office also has a CD–ROM, Tech Docs: Technology Resources for Law Enforcement, that provides more than 50 documents and resources related to law enforcement and crime-fighting technology. Topics discussed on the CD–ROM include IT guides and reports, crime mapping/crime analysis, interoperable communications/information sharing, surveillance video/in-car cameras, and 311 nonemergency call systems.
Using grants to address crime and disorder in schools
In fiscal years 1998 and 1999, the COPS Office funded the School-Based Partnerships (SBP) grant program, which awarded 275 law enforcement agencies more than $30 million to partner with schools to address crime and disorder problems in and around middle and high schools. The law enforcement agencies were required to attend training in problem-solving and problem-analysis methods, specifically the SARA Model (scanning, analysis, response and assessment), to better understand the causes of problems, apply analysis-driven responses, and evaluate their efforts.
This COPS Innovations report focuses on three SBP sites—Bullhead City, Arizona, Police Department and Bullhead City Junior High School; Hollywood, Florida, Police Department and Attucks Middle School; and Miami, Florida, Police Department and Booker T. Washington Senior High School—and how they used SARA to address illegal drug sales, truancy, and situations in which students and teachers felt threatened. The COPS Office also has published assessment and evaluation reports on 16 additional communities involved in the SBP grant program.
School-Based Partnerships Program Reports, page numbers vary
The problem of burglary at house construction sites
Burglary at construction sites for single-family homes is one part of a larger set of problems related both to burglary and to construction sites. This Problem-Oriented Guide for Police (POP Guide), published by the COPS Office, focuses on building materials, tools, appliances, and small equipment at these sites. Although burglaries at single-family house sites are similar to those at multi family or commercial construction sites, the varying physical and logistical characteristics of the two types of sites require very different crime-prevention techniques. Further, the theft of heavy equipment, such as backhoes and loaders, from single-family house sites poses a unique crime-prevention problem because of the size, cost, and mobility of such equipment.
This POP Guide describes the problem and reviews factors that increase the risk of this crime. It identifies questions that could assist law enforcement in analyzing the local problem and reviews responses to the problem and what is known about it from evaluative research and police practice.
Alcohol’s link to assaults in and around bars
Many risk factors lead to assaults in and around bars, and many responses are reactions to these risk factors. This Problem-Oriented Guide for Police (POP Guide), published by the COPS Office, outlines the link between alcohol and violence according to physiological, social, and situational effects to help law enforcement prevent assaults and improve their overall response to the problem of assaults in and around bars.
The POP Guide reviews factors that increase the risk of such assaults, identifies questions that can help law enforcement analyze its local problem, and reviews responses to the problem and what is known about it from research and police practice.
Crime prevention publicity campaigns help fight crime
Developing innovative efforts to reduce crime and social disorder is an integral part of modern police work, and police agencies that undertake such interventions should consider advertising their work and ideas. This Problem-Oriented Guide for Police from the COPS Office shows how agencies can help remove opportunities for crime by teaching and encouraging the public to adopt better self-protection measures and by warning offenders of increased police vigilance or improved police practices. When designed properly, publicity campaigns can offer police departments another problem-solving tool in the fight against crime.
Street gang crime is everybody’s concern
Street gang crime can take many forms. The COPS Gangs Toolkit consists of resources for law enforcement officials, educators, and parents that identify and address specific types of crimes that gangs commit. The resources in the toolkit, which include community policing solutions, will help law enforcement agencies analyze the causes of and responses to their local gang problems. The toolkit contains five Problem-Oriented Guides for Police: Bullying in Schools, Disorderly Youth in Public Places, Drug Dealing in Open-Air Markets, Graffiti, and Gun Violence Among Serious Young Offenders.
It also contains two COPS Innovations resources: Street Gangs and Interventions: Innovative Problem Solving with Network Analysis and Addressing School-Related Crime and Disorder as well as a CD–ROM, Solutions to Address Gang Crime, version 1.3, and A Parent’s Quick Reference Card: Recognizing and Preventing Gang Involvement.
Planning for a community corrections workforce
With thousands of community corrections workers poised for retirement and a shrinking pool of qualified applicants to replace them, workforce planning has become a critical priority. This NIC report is a practical tool for workforce planning, designed to help community corrections agencies address immediate needs without neglecting the long-range future. It provides correctional leaders with the information and strategies they need to recruit, develop, and retain quality personnel.
Training programs available for corrections professionals
This publication describes the training programs, training and development services, and technical assistance available from the NIC Academy Division through an interagency agreement with OJJDP. All of these training programs and training-related services were developed or adapted specifically for juvenile justice practitioners. Each program uses blended-delivery strategies, including Web- and e-mail-based preprogram work, several days of intensive face-to-face training, and evaluation and impact strategies.
NIJ Journal, Issue No. 255
More and more, jurors are presented with complex DNA evidence in trials. But do jurors actually understand this evidence? The cover story in the latest issue of the NIJ Journal focuses on an NIJ-funded study that examined whether four different innovations enhanced jurors’ comprehension of DNA evidence in a mock jury trial.
Additional stories feature the following:
NIJ Journal, Issue No. 255, 32 pages
DOJ program focuses on breaking the cycle of childhood victimization
Research has shown that child abuse and neglect may place a youth at risk for delinquency, criminality, and other problem behaviors. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) developed the Safe Kids/Safe Streets program to help communities create collaborative, communitywide efforts to break the cycle of early victimization and subsequent behavioral problems and to reduce child abuse and neglect. The goal of the program was to help communities significantly change the policies, procedures, and practices of agencies that deal with children (and their families) who were experiencing, or who were at risk of experiencing, abuse and neglect. This bulletin reports on findings from the national evaluation of the planning and implementation of the Safe Kids/Safe Streets program in five localities from 1997, when the sites were first funded, to June 2003.
Guide provides answers for parents of internationally abducted children
This updated OJJDP guide provides recommendations on how to prevent international kidnapping and detailed advice to maximize the chance that kidnapped children will be returned to this country. It presents descriptions and realistic assessments of the civil and criminal remedies available in international parental kidnapping cases. It also explains applicable laws and identifies both the public and private resources that a parent may use when an international abduction occurs or is threatened. This second edition of A Family Resource Guide on International Parental Kidnapping covers important developments in policy and practice that have occurred since the first edition was published in February 2002.
Department Observes National Stalking Awareness Month
In January, the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs and Office on Violence Against Women joined with the National Center for Victims of Crime to observe National Stalking Awareness Month.
“Stalking is an unwanted intrusion into the privacy of an individual” said Assistant Attorney General Regina B. Schofield. “Increasingly, stalkers are using high-tech methods to commit their crimes, and we must have the tools to detect and prosecute them. That’s why we are releasing two new resources that will enable law enforcement and prosecutors to better manage digital evidence and to investigate crimes involving the Internet.”
The guides, Digital Evidence in the Courtroom: A Guide for Law Enforcement and Prosecutors and Investigations Involving the Internet and Computer Networks, outline how to collect, handle, and store digital evidence while investigating electronic crimes, including stalking. The publications are available on the OJP Web site.