Connecting The Dots
Geographic information systems (GIS), the term used for creating, updating, and analyzing digitized maps, are increasingly being used by law enforcement agencies across the United States. At its best, when integrated with Global Positioning Systems, the tool can help track probationers and parolees wearing electronic ankle bracelets and cross-reference their locations with crime scenes or areas ordered off-limits.
The method gained prominence under former Mayor Giuliani in New York City when the New York Police Department launced COMPSTAT, helping to dramatically decrease crime in the city by providing real-time intelligence to aid in rapid response.
The Lincoln, Neb., Police Department uses a similar system called ACUDAT (Analyzing Crime Using Data About Trends) to provide officers the ability to generate their own current maps remotely through the department’s intranet.
In 2002, Seminole County, Fla., hired Veridian to track suspected offenders on a pre-trial release with its “VeriTracks” GPS application that compares their parolees movements with crime incident reports. The tool tracks an individual’s movements round the clock, allowing the sheriff’s office to access the system to compare with crime scenes and providing e-mail alerts when a defendant was located near a crime scene or entered a no-go area.
The Suffolk County, N.Y., Police Department and Hernando County, Fla., Sheriff’s Office have implemented automatic vehicle location systems to map the precise whereabouts of patrol cars to maximize deployment efforts.
The Duval County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, in partnership with Harris Corp., built a three-dimensional model of a shopping and entertainment complex in Jacksonville to construct a detailed electronic map of floor plans that can be retrieved by law enforcement or emergency personnel as needed.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Police (04/04) Vol. 28, No. 4, P. 42; Diamond, Joe .