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Partnering with the Police to Prevent Crime Using Geographic Information Systems



Release Date: 
October 2003 (48 pages)
Posted Date:   
December 19, 2005



The advent of geographic information systems (GIS) has given behavioral scientists the ability to map and track a wide range of social phenomena in relatively small parcels of urban space hitherto almost unreachable in an analytic sense. Much more information about what is happening “on the ground” is now available. This enhanced analytic capacity has presented public and private stakeholders such as police departments, housing authorities, school districts, neighborhood associations, and corporate managers with the opportunity to better serve and protect the people and places in their care. Furthermore, as GIS assists one in seeing and understanding behavior patterns, it also provides stakeholders with opportunities to join together in partnerships for the common good. This guidebook is about forming stakeholder partnerships to prevent crime using GIS.

In August 1999, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Office of Policy Development and Research published Guidebook for Measuring Crime in Public Housing with Geographic Information Systems. The 1999 guidebook’s primary objective is to familiarize the reader with the basics of crime mapping with GIS as they could be applied to measuring the incidence of crime in public housing developments. The 1999 guide suggested straightforward, uncomplicated approaches to examining crime patterns with emphasis on the serious offenses included in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) Part I crimes. A number of sample tables and some sample graphics were presented. The 1999 guide can serve as a primer for a variety of stakeholders who wish to employ crime mapping on a broad array of places such as public housing developments, schools, neighborhoods, privately owned apartment complexes or subdivisions of single-family homes, shopping malls, or parks.

The primary objective of this guidebook is to suggest how community stakeholders and police departments (PDs) might go about forging crime prevention planning partnerships (henceforth to be referred to as “CPPPs”) based on crime mapping. Much of the information in this guidebook is derived from recently completed HUD research that involved the establishment and observation of CPPPs between public housing authorities (PHAs) and their local PDs. However, we believe that the knowledge gained in studying the creation and operation of PHA/PD CPPPs can be applied to partnerships between PDs and a wide variety of stakeholders.