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Introductory Guide to Crime Analysis and Mapping

NCJ Number
Rachel Boba Ph.D.
Date Published
November 2001
This document serves as a "starter" guidebook and as a reference source for crime analysis, crime mapping, and problem solving.
The guide emerged from the curriculum presented at the "Introduction to Crime Analysis Mapping and Problem Solving" training course conducted by the Police Foundation's Crime Mapping Laboratory in 2001. Following this introduction in section 1, section 2 presents an overview of crime analysis, including a definition of crime analysis, types of crime analysis, and the crime analysis model. Generally, crime analysis involves the use of qualitative and quantitative methods to analyze crime and law enforcement information for the purpose of apprehending criminals, reducing crime, and evaluating organization procedures. Section 3 provides an overview of crime mapping, including the historical context from which it emerged and current types of mapping. Computerized mapping of crime has many uses for law enforcement agencies that may use mapping to pinpoint high-crime areas and implement community policing programs. Researchers are also interested in mapping as it helps reveal how geographic areas and the influences within them influence criminal patterns. Various types of mapping are described, including manual pin mapping, crime analysis mapping, and computer mapping. Section 4 presents an overview of problem solving, with a focus on the SARA approach to problem solving. Problem solving is the key component of the community policing model and involves a methodical process for decreasing the risk of crime and disorder problems in a community. The SARA approach to problem solving involves four steps: scanning, analysis, response, and assessment. Section 5 discusses types of data and the data management method of geocoding. Law enforcement data is either known as tabular data or geographic data. The process of geocoding brings together tabular and geographic data based on a common geographic unit of analysis. Section 6 describes the spatial analysis techniques of single symbol mapping and graduated mapping. This section is meant to be a reference section for spatial analysis techniques, rather than a guide on how to create crime analysis maps. Section 7 provides an overview of crime analysis product format and dissemination, with discussions on factors that need consideration, methods of dissemination, typical components of crime analysis products, types of crime analysis products, general crime analysis product elements, and map design elements. References