This issue of Geography & Public Safety focuses on the technologies and procedures police departments are currently using and may use in the future in order to achieve redistricting and/or resource allocation that will improve their efficiency and effectiveness.
The first article provides an overview of current ways that police departments are redrawing their district boundaries in order to provide a greater balance in resource allocation throughout their jurisdictions. The main theme of the article is that departments have yet to take full advantage of the technology available to facilitate and improve this process. Another article describes how the Tucson Police Department (Arizona) has used a redistricting software program called Geobalance, in coordination with geographic information systems (GIS), in order to redraw division boundary lines. This is followed by an article that describes how the Overland Park Police Department (Kansas) has achieved the transition from a dispatch model to an incident-command model, using hot-spot-based technology. The Crime Analysis Unit develops tactical-level information and analysis for operations and watch commanders, sergeants, and patrol officers, which is delivered in less than 24 hours after a crime occurs. Using this crime analysis information, the sergeants, operations commanders, and watch commanders make resource assignments to the sector where the crime is occurring. The next chapter describes how the East Orange Police Department (New Jersey) has used a geographical technology called the Tactical Automatic Vehicle Locator (TAC-AVL), a real-time geographic positioning system tool that allows commanders to view a real-time map of the city with the locations of all patrol cars. The concluding article provides step-by-step instruction for using the Environmental Systems Research Institute’s (ESRI’s) districting tool, a free extension for ESRI’s ArcGIS Desktop that allows analysts to create new police districts.