Mapping Crime in its Community Setting: Event Geography Analysis.
2007-08-22T00:00:00Z (GMT) by
Preface to the Internet Edition -- The economics of academic publishing are such that books go out of print fairly quickly, long before their useful lifetime has expired. This was the case with Mapping Crime in Its Community Setting, published in 1991 by Springer-Verlag; it predated the emergence of crime mapping as the powerful crime analysis tool it has become. We retrieved the copyright from Springer last year and decided that, rather than republish it in paper, we would put it on the web and make it available for free. The Library of the University of Illinois at Chicago graciously consented to put store the book on its "reading room" site (http://www.uic.edu/depts/lib/forr/ ). Publication of our book was followed by the very successful National Institute of Justice program testing crime mapping elsewhere; called the Drug Market Analysis Program (with the apt acronym D-MAP), cities from San Diego to Pittsburgh to Jersey City to Hartford implemented (in San Diego's case, augmented) computerized crime mapping projects that still flourish. It was also the forerunner of the Chicago Police Department's ICAM (Information Collection for Automated Mapping) system, which has been up and running for a half-dozen years. As its title implies, the book puts computer-based crime mapping in its community context, where "community" refers both to the police community and the neighborhoods they serve. We discuss how it can be used to incorporate a true and sustainable form of community policing, where the police and community organizations form partnerships to provide communities with the support and protection they need. Of course, maintaining a partnership of this nature is difficult, but we feel that it is well worth the effort. The technological context of this book is now quite dated. This project started five years after IBM introduced its first personal computer, and the Macintosh had been out for only two years. For example, all of our "geocoding" was done by hand, and the data were sent from place to place by "sneaker LAN," that is, by carrying diskettes from site to site. Yet the project's essential findings are still as applicable today as they were ten years ago: crime mapping is an excellent tool for use by police analysts and administrators; its proper implementation requires police organizations to make substantive changes in the way they do business; and it can be used very effectively as a platform for building cooperative relationships between police and communities and for incorporating dynamic mapping and other (non-police) data as a means of understanding the nature of the communities the police serve. As with any tool, it can also be used inappropriately. Great care, for example, must be given to maintaining the confidentiality of the information the database contains, especially concerning people already victimized, and to attend to unintended organizational consequences of tool use. These matters all receive attention in the book.