Crime mapping has become incredibly popular as it is turning into one of many ways to successfully lower crime rates. For police services, crime mapping allows them to become more transparent in regards to the information that is shared to the public. For some communities, this has exponentially improved relations with the police. Initially, police services were worried about the public having access to this sensitive information, but this has been the least of their worries due to the benefits it has had - both on reducing crime and community support. Crime mapping has had such a positive impact on communities that it is become a trending tool for police services across Canada.
A recent study found that the average person’s thoughts on crime activity were “heavily influenced by media depictions, demographic qualities, and personal experience.” Thus, it is easy to understand why having access to this information is so important. For an example, as a parent, if you notice that there is a high risk of theft and robbery after 11:00 pm on the weekends, you can implement curtain precautions to ensure the safety of your children.
BENEFITS OF CRIME MAPPING IN THE PUBLIC:
- Allows for the public to engage in the community, especially involving community policing
- The public is able to take part in community safety just as the police do
- Does a better job at minimizing victimization
- Understand which neighbourhoods are more prone to certain crimes
HOW CRIME MAPPING HAS HELP THE POLICE:
- Analyze the data and have a better understanding where/why crimes occur frequently
- Examining where past victims and offenders lived and where crimes occurred helps police determine which neighborhoods attract offenders and where unknown offenders may reside
- Helps visualize data, assess human behavior and its relation to geographical areas, and keep up by following these spatial patterns
Although the transparency between police and public is growing, police services do have a reason for withholding this information. One of the problems police service assumed would happen after allowing access to this crime information would be that people would not want to reside in certain neighbourhoods if they knew the level crime activity that had taken place. This would ultimately drive down the value in that area. However, after trial runs in other communities and places throughout the UK, it was clear for police services that the benefits from crime mapping clearly outweigh the potential negative effects.
Cities that have the highest number of homicides (per 100,000)
Regina - 4.5
Winnipeg - 3.4
Thunder Bay - 2.5
Edmonton - 2.1
Calgary - 1.8
St. Louis - 59.3
Baltimore - 54.30
Detroit - 43.80
New Orleans - 41.70
Newark - 33.30