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Policing agencies worldwide have been actively incorporating geographic information systems (GIS) in their functioning in order to achieve higher public safety and quicker response. GIS has immense potential to help the police in crime analysis, workforce management, prison and parole management etc.
GIS is enabling the police to achieve ‘Smart Policing.’ Geospatial technologies are applied by police agencies for mapping crime, identifying crime hot spots, assigning officers, and profiling offenders. Spatial analysis is giving geographical context to real world incidents.
Mapping solutions are allowing law enforcement authorities to add context, timing and location data to raw data. This is leading to the creation of rich, interactive maps that is helping officials gain actionable insights. They are getting higher clarity in ‘what to do, when and where.’
Crime can be predicted through story mapping and trail identification, incident maps and heat maps can help in reducing the possibilities of incident recurrence. By analyzing cell phone data patterns and linking with geo-locations, locations that draw crime can be identified and resource deployment can be done accordingly.
Predictive policing is achieved through using geospatial technologies and analytical techniques to identify the most probable areas for urgent police intervention. This helps in preventing the occurrence of crimes at the very outset. Location intelligence can help law enforcement detect patterns of crime and take actions to prevent them from occurring.
GIS helps in prison and parole management by helping in identifying areas prone to inmate violence in institutional settings, assigning probation and parole officers by geographic location, directing probationers and parolees to services and treatment centers, making site selection decisions for the placement of new facilities within a community etc.
Prison authorities can effectively use a map of the prison complex as the base map that can have address locations pinpointed as housing units, individual cells and other discrete locations in the complex.
GIS aids in monitoring offenders outside prison as well. The geographic information collected and analyzed by probation and parole personnel can become a valuable investigative tool to police, who might want to know, for example, the locations of people recently released from prison who have previously been convicted of a certain type of crime.