GIS Assists with Identifying High Risk Burgalry Areas

The Village of Woodridge, IL has begun to proactively analyze areas being targeted for burglaries in an effort to understand what parts of the village are at higher risk and how policing strategies can be used for prevention.  For reporting purposes, maps were created that show the distribution of vehicle burglaries and building burglaries from 2011 to 2013.  The data used to create these maps was obtained from calls for service records provided by the county dispatch system.  Once these records were filtered for the crimes being analyzed and given locations on a map, an analysis could be conducted to determine which areas were more vulnerable to burglaries.

A GIS analysis that shows clusters of similar data, or hot spots, was used to determine areas that are more likely to be burglarized.  This analysis takes into account the relationship between the quantity and location of burglary incidents to determine areas that are more likely to experience a burglary.  The result of this analysis is a hot spot map that shows areas of higher likelihood of experiencing a burglary (hot spots) and areas not likely to experience this (cold spots).  Since this analysis incorporated incidents over the course of a few years, patterns emerged that indicated known and unknown information. For example, while multiple burglaries in or around a shopping center may be expected, other areas in Woodridge experienced more burglaries than expected between 2011 and 2013.  This may mean more information is needed to explain this phenomenon or different policing strategies should be considered.  Using GIS to analyze the village’s historic crime data helped the Police department to clearly visualize this type of pattern in an easily consumable way that can be used moving forward as a tool for more developing more proactive policing strategies.

GIS Supports Community Resource Center


The Village of Woodridge provides services to residents in need of education and support through their Community Resource Center. This center, which is supported mainly by the Woodridge Police Department, provides after school and summer programs for students, parenting support, ESL classes, and computer learning classes to residents. To assess the effectiveness of the Community Resource Center’s youth after school and summer programs, GIS was used to provide supporting materials for Village Board review.

GIS was used to create a map showing the distribution of student residences. Since many of the students live in multi-family buildings, the locations were color-graded to identify places where multiple students live. In addition, graphs were created using GIS data that displayed the socioeconomic characteristics for the students enrolled in the programs, which will be used to review the Center’s current service levels. This map and the associated graphs were included in a memo to the Village Board that details the attendance, programming, and staffing for the after school and summer programs. Maps and visual aids that are created using GIS provide a clear and concise view of data that may be difficult to interpret otherwise.

Medical Marijuana Cultivation and Dispensing Analysis


Since the Medical Cannabis Act (MCA) was passed in Illinois on August
1, 2013, communities working to determining how this legislation may
impact them. To determine potential locations where medical marijuana
dispensing or cultivation may take place near or within municipal
limits, the Village of Woodridge employed Geographic Information System
(GIS) tools and methods to help answer this question.

The primary parameter considered for this analysis was the distance
away from daycare centers, schools, and areas zoned for residential use
where a cultivation or dispensing center could be located. Cultivation
centers need to be 2,500 feet from these areas, whereas dispensing
centers need to be 1,000 feet away. GIS was used first to identify where
daycares, schools, and areas zoned residential were located within the
Village. Once these areas were found, the next step was to apply the
distance restrictions to these locations using buffers.

Once these buffers were created, staff was able to identify potential
areas where cultivation or dispensing could take place. The second
phase of this analysis was to incorporate daycares, schools, and
residential areas in surrounding areas outside of municipal limits to
determine if any of the potential cultivation or dispensing areas found
in the first phase would be eliminated when taking into account
neighboring municipalities.

Due to the controversial nature of Medical Cannabis Act, Village
staff wanted to be proactive in preparing for the potential effects of
this legislation on their community. Through the use of GIS analysis,
staff was provided with results they could use in future

Progress since joining the Consortium

​The Village of Woodridge is no stranger to using Geographic
Information Systems (GIS) to visualize data with maps and online mapping
services. However for each department to get the most out of their GIS
software and related hardware they decided to join the GIS Consortium.
While it has only been a few months since joining the Consortium,
Village staff can already see the power in leveraging the knowledge of
communities and staff across the Chicagoland area to help solve their
problems with GIS.

Since joining the GIS Consortium, Woodridge has successfully updated
its GIS data to help with daily activities such as service billing,
policing, utility replacements, and inspections. The migration of their
existing GIS data to the Consortium data model allows the Village to do
more complex analysis and display information in a way that wasn’t
possible before. Village staff has also participated in webinars and
meetings with staff in other communities to understand how GIS can be
used as a tool in projects where it has not been originally implemented.

Currently, the Village of Woodridge is getting ready to deploy an
online mapping application offered by the Consortium on its community
website called MapOffice ™. This will provide residents a resource for
finding information related to their property (i.e. assessed property
value, school district information, and voting information). Following
the deployment of MapOffice ™, MapOffice ™ Advanced will be installed
for Village staff. MapOffice ™ Advanced will allow staff to analyze
their data more effectively and integrate information from databases and
work-order management systems currently in use. With the GIS
capabilities the Village has now, staff are excited to implement the
things they have been waiting to see for a long time.

Village of Woodridge becomes 20th GIS Consortium member

​We are pleased to announce the joining of the Village of Woodridge as
the 20th member of the GIS Consortium. The Village approved membership
at their December 13th Village Board meeting. We are excited about
adding a new member and are looking forward to the beginning of another
collaborative partnership.​