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CRIME MAPPING (continued)

How Subgrantees, Crime Victim Assistance Coalitions, and Victim Service Providers Can Use Crime Mapping

Crime victim services subgrantees, coalitions, and providers can use GIS to study crime rates and resources in specific areas to improve allocation of resources, such as placing victim advocates in community centers, police departments, or courts. When gaps in services are identified, grant writers can incorporate this data into applications for federal, state, local, and foundation funding, thus documenting the scope of the problem for proposal reviewers.

GIS technology uses a process called buffering to create a barrier or zone around an area to be investigated or analyzed. For example, victims of domestic violence need many different services and are often dependent on public transportation in urban areas. In this instance, coalitions and service providers may want to buffer12 the area surrounding bus routes to determine how accessible police departments, shelters, courts, and social services are to victims of domestic violence. Networking13 is another process used to calculate optimum travel distances from all service locations or to determine optimum minimum distances between service locations.

Sexual assault coalitions can develop maps of assault locations, offering a broader look at where assaults occur or where victims reside. Child abuse coalitions can map the location of registered child molesters and overlay this information with data on the locations of schools and playgrounds to ensure supervision of offenders and protection of children (see exhibits 3 and 8).

State coalitions for crime victim assistance and providers of victim services can use GIS to identify underserved victims of crime, such as victims of physical assault, burglary, robbery, drunk driving, arson, and hate crime, and victims who are family members of homicide victims. This information can be shared among several groups working to plan for and serve these populations. This powerful tool allows the various coalitions to jointly assess and analyze crime on a larger scale by producing maps that can be shared and allow for joint strategic planning to develop a seamless delivery system for crime victims.

Mapping Victim Services

When creating a mapping system for crime victim services, different types of data can be integrated and different types of maps can be created. This information can be broken down into four categories—victim services, criminal justice, health and social services, and generic.

Examples of victim services data include

  • VOCA-funded subgrantee locations and catchment areas.
  • Other victim services programs by location and catchment areas.
  • Funding of services by multiple funding sources.
  • Types of services available by location.
  • Locations of claimants for crime victim compensation (awarded and denied).
  • Dollar amounts of compensation claims awarded by geographic area.
  • Number of victims served by compensation programs.
  • Number of victims served by victim services organizations.

Examples of criminal justice data include

  • Number of crime incidents.
  • Types of crime incidents.
  • Locations of police stations, substations, and patrols.
  • Computer-aided dispatch calls.
  • Firearms purchases.
  • Locations of prisons and jails.
  • Locations of criminal and juvenile courts.
  • Open-air drug markets.
  • Gang locations.
  • Jurisdictional lines for state police, county sheriffs, tribal police, and municipal police.
  • Number of protective or restraining orders.

Examples of health and social services data include

  • Locations of public assistance agencies.
  • Locations of public housing.
  • Locations of hospitals and emergency rooms.
  • Locations of mental health programs.
  • Locations of youth shelters.

Examples of generic data include

  • Census data.
  • Neighborhood boundaries.
  • State, county, and Indian Country boundaries.
  • School locations.
  • Business locations.
  • Transportation routes.
  • Park and recreation areas.
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Using Geographic Information Systems To Map Crime Victim Services:
A Guide for State Victims of Crime Act Administrators and Victim Service Providers
February 2003
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