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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

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2003
50 pages
This guide explains how State Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Administrators and victim service providers can use geographic information systems (GIS) to facilitate the effective and equitable delivery of crime victim services.
As more crime victims exercise their rights and seek services, State VOCA crime victim compensation and assistance administrators and victim service providers must assess victim needs, allocate available resources effectively, and advocate for additional resources. GIS technology can assist in these efforts. GIS is an application that links database software to graphics software to create visual images of various types of data in map format. It is a unique tool for analyzing physical space and conveying perspective. Presenting data in the form of a map helps agencies understand the significance of where, when, and by whom crimes are committed. After explaining the creation of maps with GIS technology and how law enforcement agencies have used this technology to analyze crime patterns and plan resource allocation, this guide explains how State VOCA Administrators as well as VOCA administrators of victim assistance and victim compensation can use GIS. This is followed by a discussion of how VOCA subgrantees, crime victim assistance coalitions, and victim service providers can use crime mapping. GIS technology can help analyze information, such as types of crime by location, victim population groups served and underserved, and the location of victim service organizations and their geographic service areas. This information can be used to examine the availability of basic services and the sufficiency of services for specialized population groups. It can visually display multiple funding sources in a geographic area to help in the fair distribution of resources. GIS can also be useful in developing strategic program and financial plans for the maintenance and development of victim services. The guide further explains how to begin an effort to incorporate GIS into the management of victim services. The guide concludes with information on available resources and funding to assist in GIS development. 18 exhibits, 18 notes, a 9-item bibliography, and a list of 25 other resources

Date Published: February 1, 2003