Mapping crime patterns with GIS


Over the last six months the City of Highland Park has experienced an
increase in vehicle burglaries. This has led to pressure from residents
to reduce the number of vehicle break-ins. The Police Department based
on reports and interviews has two people of interest. However, they were
looking for a way to confirm their hunches as to which incidents were
mostly committed by the suspects from the ones which were truly isolated

The Police Department asked the GIS Office to create a map of vehicle
burglaries. The requested maps showed the location of vehicle break in.
The incident locations were colored by the month they occurred in. The
symbols were also sized to show how many vehicle break-ins occurred at
each location. The final map product was useful not only grouping the
incidents by location but establishing time frame when these events
occurred. From them map it was easy to see that some of the clusters
occurred during a specific month.

All of the suspects were eventually caught and the map is being used
as evidence in Court Proceedings. By leveraging the power of GIS the
Police Department was able to a product that confirmed some of there
hunches as to the some of the incidents being linked. Thus creating a
useful piece of evidence for charging the suspects with committing some
of the incidents.