Crime Mapping and the Training Needs of Law Enforcement
- Cite this article as:
- Ratcliffe, J.H. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research (2004) 10: 65. doi:10.1023/B:CRIM.0000037550.40559.1c
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This paper explores some of the more recent developments within crime mapping and the broader application of geographical information technology within law enforcement. The information technology (IT) revolution and the reduction in computing costs since the 1980s has brought a range of analytical tools within the budgets of most police services, and one of the most significant changes has been in the way that spatial data are handled. Law enforcement has strong geographic currents at all levels of the organisation, and this paper examines three applications of geographical information systems (GIS) within policing: hotspot mapping; CompStat; and geographic profiling. The paper concludes by discussing the future training needs using a simple model of intelligence-led crime reduction. This model suggests that training for managers to enable a greater understanding of the analyses presented to them, and how to use mapping to further crime prevention and reduction, may be as important as increasing the technical ability of crime analysts. The challenge for the immediate future of crime reduction practice in law enforcement is less to worry about the training of analysts, and more to address the inability of law enforcement management to understand and act on the crime analysis they are given.