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.