Date: 21 Aug 2011

Spatial Optimization and Geographic Uncertainty: Implications for Sex Offender Management Strategies

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Residence restrictions are increasingly popular policy-based tools for managing the spatial distribution of sex offenders in the USA.

Frequently implemented with limited study or practical guidance, it is likely that spatial uncertainty in many evaluative efforts creates interpretive and policy questions. For example, sex offender locations, prohibited areas, proximity evaluation, and travel uncertainties all have the potential to jeopardize analysis, policy development, and enforcement, but, more importantly, have the potential to raise legitimacy issues and obscure the interpretation of impacts. The purpose of this chapter is to examine the effects of spatial uncertainty in the context of sex offender analysis and management as well as review spatial optimization approaches to support this. This work enables a framework and direction for improving the quality of sex offender analysis and also provides the basis for quantifying certainty relative to data quality.