Image Processing Reference
However, all of the above mentioned technologies are only tools and their ben-
efits to the society and law enforcement depend on the human agents who have
As the use of GIS evolves in law enforcement and includes an increasing
number of “spatial data analysis” tools, new and innovative applications are
emerging. In law enforcement, GIS is primarily used to visualize crime occur-
rences and determine if they are of regular or varied numerous patterns. The
concentration of crime in certain places, also known as criminal spatial behavior
or crime hot spots, was first identified in Brantingham and Brantingham
( 1982 ). These crime hot spots represented the potential value of places in the
analysis of crime patterns, particularly in exploring the variables that affect
crime patterns (Sherman et al. 1989 ; Sherman 1992 ; Weisburd and Green 1994 ).
In the context of law enforcement, the hot spot concept is typically applied to
street crime rather than white-collar crime, organized crime, or terrorist crime.
For example, even though white-collar crimes may sometimes overwhelm
street crime, their economic impact tends to be ignored, possibly because they
do not cause the same kind of community fear and anxiety as street crimes.
Crime hotspots can be described both geographically and temporally.
Several factors need to be explored to determine the spatial extent as well as the
temporal persistence of a hot spot (that is, how long does a hotspot remain
“hot”?). For example, If a city experiences several terrorist bombings or school
shootings within 1 year, the city as a whole could be considered a hotspot - an
idea that challenges the typical hot spot definition. Other examples of these
factors include incident accrual rates within a spot, how these rates are mea-
sured in relation to all confirmed crimes within the city, and all calls for service,
specific crimes or other conditions that are reported from a particular spot.
An investigation sponsored by the Crime Map Research Center (currently
MAPS) in 1998 found that most hotspot analysis methods fall into one of the
following five categories (Jefferis 1999 ): visual interpretation, chropleth map-
ping, grid cell analysis, cluster analysis, and spatial autocorrelation. Some of
the aforementioned methods involve user-defined search criteria, whereby
variations in the criteria affect outcomes.
In the U.S., the NIJ (Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice), in
cooperation with the Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc. (ESRI) and
many U.S. police departments has supported many GIS crime applications through