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Benefits and Disadvantages of Crime Maps

Updated on October 8, 2016

The Benefits and Disadvantages of Using Crime Maps

Crime mapping is very useful mainly because it is geographical. That means that the location of victims as well as offenders is important in order to locate and prevent localized crime. The police are therefore able to identify where offenders and victims live easily, identify emergent issues in the neighborhoods, and make analyses on how offenders move from one location to another.

In addition to making their work easier, it is very convenient because it supports some of their already existing roles. For example, it makes it easier for them to respond to calls, collect data from crime scenes, share information with their partners, reassure the public, analyze and generate intelligence, and deploy patrols and target responses. Crime maps reduce police workload and make them more efficient and effective in preventing crime.

Assimilation of Crime Maps in the Force

The adaptation of crime maps in police departments has not been straightforward. The number of personnel interested in learning about the crime mapping technology in police departments is very low. In addition to that, the technology is expensive. Integrating the technology into the departments is therefore difficult in itself.

Crime mapping is a complicated technology that requires a lot of Intel and therefore this has prevented its adoption in many departments. Small agencies that may not have the time or the resources to train their staff members on how to use the crime maps are usually excluded from the whole crime mapping process.This means that only relatively larger departments can take it up.

Crime Maps for Peace and Tranquility

Crime mapping helps reassure the public. Crime mapping is important to the public because it helps the police meet their needs much easier. That is, the police are able to place locations where crimes occur. It also helps them evaluate interventions, and recognize places where there are many repeated calls for service. This allows the police to place special attention to those areas. It helps inform the public on various changes in their community and about crime activities that arise in their locations.

Crime maps are very useful and effective especially for large departments and agencies. The departments that tend to continue their use of crime mapping are the ones located in places where crime is rampant. It helps the public hold their leaders accountable for community policing.The Public is able to manage their own risks of being victims of crime

The Disadvantages of Crime Maps

Even though crime maps are very useful to the public, it does not fully cover their safety and security issues. Some of the cons that come with crime maps are that sometimes they can have weighted anecdotal information. This can sometimes result in crime mapping having a bias on historical problems as opposed to emergent patterns. Therefore, deployment errors can easily occur with the police departments.

Sometimes the information available in crime maps focuses on very limited facts. This is problematic because it may only reflect a few facts about a small area and not necessarily a large area. Sometimes, people do not consider more than a few issues and this could result in the omission of very critical information, which may have an impact on the safety of a place.

Crime Maps and Community Policing

Politicians and policy makers also have benefits associated with crime maps. This is because effective use of crime maps supports accountability and community policing. The public can therefore build a trust relationship with their policy makers in knowing that they fully understand the security situation in their areas of leadership. It helps them monitor whether crime rates in their areas are going down. If not, they are able to make policies that will help bring the crime levels down.

They are able to be effective in their work because of crime maps. They are able to reassure the public since they can move to safer locations as opposed to the unsafe locations that crime mapping may point out.

Map showing crimes in Savannah, Georgia
Map showing crimes in Savannah, Georgia | Source

Effectiveness of Crime Maps

The disadvantages of crime maps to policy makers and politicians depend on the accuracy of crime mapping. Most of the time, crimes are not reported. The result of this is that the policy makers may make uninformed or poorly informed decisions about managing crime in specific areas. Crime mapping involves several assumptions.

That the public will use the maps and that whenever they come across a crime, they will hold the police accountable. Eventually, this leads to policy makers making reactive intelligence practices as opposed to proactive ones. When intensive reactive policing practices are used, there is a false perception showing a rise in crime rates.

How the Private Sector gains from Crime Maps

Private companies benefit from crime maps. This is because they are able to find safe locations to place their branches and weigh their safety options in the relatively unsafe locations. The companies may use the statistics in crime maps to advertise themselves and use safety as a key component to attract consumers. This is especially helpful for the merchants and hotel industries that must provide a safe and serene environment for their clients.

Private companies also benefit from crime mapping by using the internet. Since the crime maps have an internet access page, they are able to reach large numbers of people and this helps with their profits.

The Downside of Crime Maps to the Business Class

The disadvantages of crime maps to private companies may result from poor representation. Crime maps sometimes give very general information. For example, there may be many reported cases in a small region of a large area, but when viewing the crime map for the large area, the many cases may exaggerate the information. This may discourage consumers and clients for private companies. Sometime crime maps may be misunderstood. The result of this is that people may misjudge various locations of private companies. The companies that make the software need to use very complicated and expensive software to remove the risk of infiltration by external sources that may alter the information in the crime maps.


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    • profile image

      ethin byrge 

      3 years ago

      Im in high school and this website was helpful be i had a research paper for criminal justice


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