Predictive Policing and Crime Mapping

Predictive Policing and Crime Mapping

i. While the evidence for general patrol is inconclusive, the evidence for the effectiveness of directed patrol is quite strong

ii. Finding “Hot Spots”

a. The target areas of directed patrol are often called “hot spots” because of their high levels of criminal activity

b. Focusing on hot spots can yield positive results

c. Police departments are using GIS crime mapping technology to locate and identify hot spots and “cool them down”

iii. The Rise of CompStat

a. About two-thirds of large departments now employ some form of computerized crime mapping

1. CompStat starts with police officers reporting the exact location of crime and other crime-related information to department officials. These reports are then fed into a computer, which prepares grids of a particular city or neighborhood and highlights areas with a high incidence of serious offenses.

D. Arrest Strategies

i. Types of arrest

a. Reactive arrests are made by those officers on general patrol who observe a criminal act or respond to a call for service

b. Proactive arrests occur when the officer takes the initiative to target a particular type of criminal or behavior

ii. Quality-of-Life Crimes

a. Wilson and Kelling suggest that crime is related to the quality of life in neighborhoods. They created the broken windows theory:

1. Dilapidated neighborhoods send out signals that criminal activity is tolerated

2. This disorder spreads fear among citizens, dissuading them from leaving their homes

3. The broken windows theory is based on “order maintenance” of neighborhoods by cracking down on quality of life crimes

iii. The Broken Windows Effect

a. Wilson and Kelling argued that proactive police strategies could prevent rising crime rates.

E. Community Policing

i. In the broken windows theory, Wilson and Kelling argue that police must rely on community cooperation to reduce fear and crime in high-risk neighborhoods

ii. Community policing advocates a return to service as an element of the police function

iii. Return to the Community

a. Community policing is an approach that advocates police–community partnerships, proactive problem solving, and community engagement

b. Under community policing, patrol officers have much more freedom to improvise and are encouraged to build relationships with members of the community

iv. The Quiet Revolution

a. The strategy of increasing police presence in the community

b. Increases positive relations between police and citizens

F. Problem-Oriented Policing

i. Problem-oriented policing moves beyond simply responding to incidents and attempts to control or even solve the root causes of criminal behavior

ii. Police should look at the long term implications of a situation, and attempt to analyze the patterns of offending

Media Tool

“Problem Solving Team in South Irving”


· A short clip about Irving’s problem solving team.

What If Scenario

What if . . . your local police department asked for your input with regard to changes it was going to make in organization and structure, specifically in the area of police patrol. What advice would you give about how the patrol activities could better serve your community? Are the demographics of your city such that a “beat” patrol might be successful? What role do factors such as culture or topography play in the decision? What other changes would you suggest to the police department to better utilize their resources?

III. “Us Versus Them”: Issues in Modern Policing

Learning Objective 6: Determine when police officers are justified in using deadly force.4

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