Computer Crime Mapping

A Collaborative project with:

  • The Center for Urban Research
  • The New York City Police Department (NYPD)
  • The Center for Applied Study of the Environment (CAPSE)

Funded by:

  • The National Institute of Justice

Principal Investigators:

  • Professor John Mollenkopf (CUR)
  • Professor Victor Goldsmith (CAPSE)
  • Phil McGuire, Assistant Commission for Policy and Planning (NYPD)
Computer Crime Mapping - sample map

During the 1990s, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) dramatically increased and improved its use of computer mapping, and made computerized maps a central feature of its innovative management process known as CompStat. To explore ways to add more analytical capacity to the NYPD’s crime mapping capibilities, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) hired CUR and CAPSE to identify anf evaluate methods for measuring and analyzing crime patterns and trends using GIS. At the end of the first year of the project, the CUR, CAPSE, and the NYPD heald a conference on GIS and crime analysis, inviting many innovative researchers to present their ideas concerning this topic.

The second year of this project involves an exploration of six statistical methods for analyzing crime patterns and trends using data provided by the NYPD, including animation, clustering, spatial smoothing, spatial autocorrelation, neural networks, and bock-level crime analysis. The Center for Urban Research focused on spatial autocorrelation and neural networks.

Goals of the project:

  • Evaluating the use of various statistical techniques for implementation in the NYPD’s crime mapping, crime analysis and/or CompStat process.
  • Creating a pilot project to implement promising technologies at the precinct level.
  • Evaluate new Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software, and keep the NYPD abreast of new technological development in the field.
  • Review and assess past research into the spatial analysis of crime patterns.
  • Produce research that will advance the fields of criminology and spatial analysis.

Work Product:
Work on the project has resulted in a book contract from Sage Publications. This book will contain the papers presented at at the Workshop on the Identification and Evaluation of Methods for Measuring and Analyzing Crime Patterns and Trends with GIS, held Feburary 28 to March 1, 1997.