Crime mapping technologies like MapSavvy Web Mapping Service (WMS) are being used to visualize and analyze data by law enforcement agencies and investigators in increasing numbers every year.
According to a study by the National Institute of Justice, interest from law enforcement agencies and investigative teams is growing because this technology is so affordable and so effective.
In an age when computer technologies are being used to solve crimes in the fictional TV world, the use of MapSavvy and similar technologies to map and visualize crime patterns and solve crimes is fascinating whether you’re in the law enforcement business or not.
What is Crime Mapping?
When it comes to solving crimes and catching the bad guys, the old phrase: “A picture is worth a thousand words” certainly applies. In its most simple form, crime mapping involves plotting crime-related information onto a web map of a neighborhood, a city, or a region.
By plotting specific crime data on a map, it provides an at-a-glance, visual perspective on where crime is occurring in general, and it shows patterns that help law enforcement teams actually solve crimes.
Who Uses Crime Mapping Technology?
It makes sense that larger law enforcement agencies are using crime mapping technologies like the MapSavvy web mapping service. The National Institute of Justice research also showed that the bulk of law enforcement agencies using crime mapping technologies were larger agencies with more than 100 sworn officers.
However, at just $500 a year for MapSavvy, virtually any law enforcement agency can take advantage of these capabilities.
How Does Law Enforcement Use Crime Mapping Technologies Like MapSavvy WMS?
This is where it gets interesting.
- 91% of police departments surveyed use web-based crime mapping to see where all arrests took place in the course of a year.
- 65% of law enforcement departments created web maps to show where the most 911 calls originated.
- 52% of police departments used web mapping to track where stolen cars were dumped.
(Source: National Institute of Justice Research Report)
As a result of being able to map crime clusters or “hot spots,” police departments can make more strategic operational decisions such as where to allocate more officers.
This information also can be used to inform the public about crime activity within their community.
How Does MapSavvy WMS Help Solve Crimes?
Web mapping services are particularly effective in helping investigations teams track patterns, and make strategic decisions to solve a crime spree, or to handle a specific hard-to-solve case. Here are a couple of examples of how web-based crime mapping technologies like MapSavvy help solve crimes.
Example 1: Assessing crime spree patterns
Let’s say a group of people have taken to robbing banks in a community. Police can used web mapping to identify where banks were robbed. By looking at a web map with the bank robbery locations plotted on it, investigators often can see patterns that would not be clear from reading a written report. A web map might give law enforcement insights about the likely bank to be robbed, the general area where the bank robbers are holed up, and how far afield they are ranging.
Example 2: Kidnapping
Alas, “Amber Alerts” are occurring with more and more frequency. If someone has kidnapped a child, police can use a web map to plot the course of travel by reviewing security footage at gas stations, reviewing the location of credit card purchases, or visualizing the cell towers that are in range of the kidnapper’s cell phone. All this can be plotted on a web map to give investigators a clearer idea of where the kidnapper is headed, and then inform law enforcement in other states to watch for them.
The bottom line is that web mapping services like MapSavvy are an affordable, effective tool that can and are used by law enforcement. Given the low price point with affordable web mapping services like MapSavvy, virtually all law enforcement agencies can afford to use it to solve crimes, make operational decisions, and to keep the general public informed of crime in their area.