GIS aids Police Department in mapping out crime


Every month, the Crime Analyst for the Village of Wheeling Police
Department provides a report detailing all criminal incidents within the
village for the preceding month. These reports typically include
charts displaying each incident as well as the different crime type
frequencies from one month to the next. In addition, the reports also
include maps showing the location, type and shift of each incident.
With no mapping software available, the crime analyst created these
reports using a combination of free programs and software. The result
of these methods was very labor intensive resulting in increased time
consumption as well as limitations on the amount of the other work that
could be completed on any given day.

The Village of Wheeling Police Department requested that a process be
instituted that would allow the Crime Analyst to create the report maps
more efficient and timely manner. It was requested that the maps be in
PDF format and that they could accommodate all possible crimes and
incidents. Moreover, the maps were to be maintained by the Police
Department with support from the GIS Department when needed.

With this criterion in place, the GIS Department decided to create a
database that would allow for the Crime Analyst to load in crime
incident data each month so that the report maps could be continuously
updated. The database included the details and location of each
incident as well as a four digit Illinois Uniform Crime Report Offense
Code. A set of symbols was then created with each symbol referencing
the four digit crime code allowing for each incident to have its own
unique symbol.

It was also decided that the final map product would allow for the
Crime Analyst to load the most recent crime data into a database and
then map all the incidents at once using the GIS’ ability to map
locations based on an address. In addition, when each location is
mapped out it will automatically be assigned a symbol based off the four
digit crime code and the shift. This eliminated the need for the Crime
Analyst to map each incident individually by hand thus transforming the
old methods into a less time consuming process. From there, map
templates representing each police beat were created that allowed the
Crime Analyst to export each map to a PDF format as soon as the incident
data is loaded into the program. This in turn eliminated the need for
the Crime Analyst to zoom in and out to create legible maps once again
saving time as well as eliminating the chance of error.

Although the preceding non-GIS method of creating maps for the police
report was effective, it is easy to see that with the use of GIS
technology the Crime Analyst was able to create the monthly reports in
less than a day compared to the four days required using the previous