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Crime mapping technology is an important tool that is used to collect and analyze the crime statistics. It is ideal means for security agencies to produce necessary geographical location, level and crime rates. Crime analysts use computerized mapping systems to obtain answers regarding various policies. On the other hand, crime mapping for the street level problem solvers is used to find solutions to various problems including environmental issues that come along with other infringements. Using 3D computerized system ensures that crime mapping is an efficient and flexible tool that organizes and displays large volumes of data regarding criminal activities and affiliated context.

3D Computer Generated Mapping

Introduction

Criminal acts cause harm for both a particular individual and the entire community. Criminal offenses are a common phenomenon that takes various forms in different societies and cultures. In developing countries, for example, the increasing crime rate is the result of their lifestyle that is formed under poor political, environmental and social conditions. Assessment of crime actually measures the impact of responses to crimes on the target crime issues by using the information gathered from diverse sources. The use of manual pin maps is considered to be a traditional method for the maintenance of criminal records, but it is less applicable today as a result of the advancement of the nature of crime today.

Dealing with crime today needs adopting information technology-based techniques in order to explore, visualize and explain the nature of crimes. Some very useful explorations of criminal mapping include the 3D mapping, the remote sensing and the Geographic Information System (GIS). The aspects of crime reconstruction through real-time interactive 3D technology are the explanations of the way in which real-time interactive 3D computer mapping can be used to combat crime. The police and other security agencies must adopt more rational and goal oriented management to promote information centered decisions. The focus of this paper is to discuss the use of 3D computer generated mapping and the associated components of dealing with social crimes.

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Collaborative 3D Mapping and Analysis of Crimes

The modern day approaches to crime investigation have constantly been enhanced through the adoption of new technologies which duly analyze crime scenes as well as provide accurate presentation of data in the courts of laws in order to facilitate prosecution of these crimes. A new development and indeed a logical step towards curbing the number of crimes is the introduction of a new system known as IC-crime, which combines various technologies to achieve the best result. The IC-crime technology uses laser scanning in producing real 3D models of crime scenes. Garson and Vann (2001) argue that this technology allows for the integration of various platforms and thereby giving the investigators as well as forensic researcher an opportunity to explore the models in great depths. Besides, the technology is essential, because it creates an interactive space for a particular crime through the combination of technologies including digital photographs and laser telemetry. This system has the ensured annotation of crime scenes that facilitates synchronous and asynchronous investigations. Not only does it gives the ability to preserve crime scene layout records but it also allows for the integration of geo-distributed experts. Moreover, the inclusion of a3D enabled software is crucial in providing real-time 3D graphics that is very important in the analysis.

Crime Mapping

In the US, crime mapping and analysis is a function performed by the Department of Public Safety for which crime-related offenses are gathered, collated and then subjected to analysis and dissemination. Crime analysts have to provide some timely and accurate analysis that help operational personnel to meet the planned tactical crime control objectives. The crime analysis report is bound to help administrative personnel in making plans and strategic decisions. It is the function of the US departmental crime analysts to ensure sufficient use of organizational resources which when implemented leads to the formulation of law enforcement policies (Gorr & McKay, 2012).

Crime mapping is a technique that has been in use for the last decade in the attempt to refine security ideas. An ideal crime mapping operating system comprises various components in its constitution. It is based on software such as MapInfo, ERSI, and ArcView which usually does the conversion of geo-coded locations and hence merging maps, figures, and tables to create maps (Chainey & Ratcliffe, 2013). With these maps, several aspects are captured including fire risks, patterns of crimes, traffic, and juvenile gangs. A major objective of this system is to initiate the collaboration among professionals of diverse geographic locations and help them to make contribution towards the analysis of crime scenarios in concern. When the crime analysis statistics are available to the public, people are informed about the criminal activities in their locality. For instance, the city of Orangeburg has been able to boost public awareness through this system and hence allows the citizens to make informed decisions regarding criminal engagements in their community.

Benefits and Liabilities of Crime Mapping

Crime mapping is very essential with regard to geographical concern as it is important to identify the location of offenders and victims, and thereby combat the localized criminal acts. Not only does crime mapping make work easy, but it also brings convenience with the support of the presently existent roles. For instance, it enhances the response to calls, collection of data in crime scenes and sharing of information in generating intelligence and the deployment of patrols.

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Another benefit of crime mapping is that it promotes peace and tranquility, because the security forces are able to meet the needs of the public. Security agencies are therefore able to pinpoint the particular locations where crimes take place and also to do an evaluation of the places where there are repeated calls from. More attention is given to these areas. As a result, the public is informed about the different changes within the communities in which they live, particularly about criminal activities in their location. The public can then manage the risks of suffering from criminals. Also, the officers who conduct patrols have a great advantage of crime mapping. For instance, they can obtain up-to-date comprehensive information relating to their patrols by spotting trends in their areas and thereby enhancing their understanding of activities that took place in the previous shifts. An example of the effectiveness of crime mapping is in McLean County of Illinois where crime mapping was useful in plotting incidents of rural burglaries (Wilson, 2007). From the data obtained, it was revealed that major incidents were evident along major highways and near cemeteries.

The information obtained helped to formulate necessary laws and increase patrols which resulted in the arrest of the group named Irish Travelers. Besides, with computerized mapping, complex statistical techniques can be used for analyzing crime data as pointed out by Wilson (2007). With these techniques, it is possible to analyze the health data as well as environmental conditions that aid in understanding the various strategies used to enforce changes in the demographics and the social aspects that affect crimes.

There are numerous liabilities of the crime mapping

  • First, the crime mapping technique barely covers the safety and security issues fully even with cons developing maps that have information that is anecdotal in nature. In this case, the result is the erroneous deployment of security officers. Also, the information provided could be substantially limited and could only reflect few facts within a small locality.
  • Second, the political class, as well as policy makers, takes advantage of the crime maps to advance the public trust and accountability (Wolff & Asche, 2009).
  • Third, the police agencies have to make a choice regarding the nature of a crime which is mapped. There are some forms of complex crimes including domestic violence, juvenile gangs and destruction of public property that are not documented.

Also, there is a stigma associated with particularized high crime zones that go beyond the criminal consequences. For instance, there is resultant economic cost that is included in reduced economic development, social disorganization and loss of careers. Other researchers argue that increase in crime rates following the wide-scale application of labeling of crime activity areas within specific neighborhoods is bound to encourage crimes. It is closely related to the disruption of social connections that appear as the result of arrests and high-frequency intrusive surveillance. Finally, there is not guaranteed effectiveness or accuracy of the crime maps. It is due to the fact that crimes in most cases remains unreported and hence could have negative impact on the policy making process (Wolff & Asche, 2009).

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Components of Criminal Justice System and the Use of 3D Computer-Generated Mapping

Crime identification is an area of computer vision of community that has been greatly studied in the few years. Generally, it is a complex issue, because it is dependent on context knowledge and thereby closely related to issues of artificial intelligence. Success in the sphere of military target identification is seen as a result of restrictions on particular classes of objects and the integration of priori information. Ideally, the 2-D projection of a 3-D object gives less information regarding its structure. Computer-based image processing is broadly classified into two categories, namely automatic analysis for image enhancement and the general intensity of an image. The quality of an image is enhanced by making a decision regarding the parts of the image that are of interest as well as regarding the content of these parts (Nishijima & Nakakuni, 2011).

As far as the geographic nature of crimes is concerned, the maps developed become essential with their display of various geographical features that provide information about crimes context. The major reference areas include transport centers like train stations, bus stops, and parks. On the maps contain demographic information which also reveals the context of crime. For instance, some parts of a map can be studied in the attempt to indicate the levels of poverty or the percentage of residents of a specific age. Besides, discussions about the features that should be displayed in the maps are very crucial for crime prevention. Furthermore, when the discussions involve elected officials, community residents, and other interested parties, essential conclusions can be made.

Other Technologies in Fighting Crimes

With the advancing technologies today, the process of acquiring the 3D maps can be enhanced by the use of mapping drones. Both artificial and human intelligence in the United States have been taken with great regard, especially after the September 11th 2001 attack. The latter event prompted the rise of the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) along with other scientific and technical (S&T) intelligence (Chainey & Ratcliffe, 2013). This technology is a boost for the volume of communication, and it also increases the variety of types and methods of protecting them.
The drone mapping technologies can make work faster, easier and more precise, especially from an aerial point of view. For instance, the X8-M and the 3DR Aeri-M are good examples of the drone technologies. Initially, the drones were intended for conducting reconnaissance, as well as other forward observational duties, but the 9/11 event has changed their roles. For instance, the CIA used an unmanned drone with the aim to assassinate Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, though it turned out that it killed civilian men who were collecting scrap metals. However, researches show that if well used, the drones can have great positive impacts on combating crime.

Geocoding and 3D Computer Generated Mapping

The information must be congregated in the form of computer-generated base map that depicts street patterns. Generally, mapping relies on the base maps that are generated by the government agencies and not only by the police. Besides, security concerns, government agencies for planning have participated in the creation of maps with the support of private sectors for commercial reasons. As it is pointed out by Brown (2013), the base maps provided are also varied with regard to the details provided. For instance, the majority of the informal settlements do not have well-laid-out streets and addresses. Geocoding is, therefore, an important process for indicating crime areas and other contextual features on the 3D maps. With the geo-coding process, the information about street address is encoded into longitude and latitude coordinates in order to display the precise locations of crimes.

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The geocoding engine is integrated into many mapping software and works by reviewing the coordinates of what is plotted against the information reference that reflects the underlying streets. According to Leitner and Brecht (2007), the efficiency of the process is ensured only when the extent for the addresses is identified and automatically geocoded. However, the security agencies encounter various issues while trying to merge the computer generated maps with police data. Even after finding a solution for the transfer issues, the police data is in most cases presented in a manner that is challenging for preparation of mapping. Although majority of the computer aided dispatch (CAD) systems (Brown, 2013) used by the security agencies have geo-files which are supposed to check and request call takers to correctly record the addresses. The incoming security data ought to be geocoded within the mapping platform so as to allow the mapping of the cases. For this reason, the departments that are devoid of address checking applications integrated into the call taking system may face many geo-coding problems, when they present their data in a mapping environment. However, the solution for the security agencies is to make improvements in their geo-coding techniques (Brown, 2013). For example, they could initiate regular updates of the geo-files that can prevent the incorporation of incorrect addresses into the main base, unless they check the geo-file and ensure that the geo-files are in the correct format of the mapping system. Furthermore, they promote the geocode rate by writing a regular cleanup program that duly processes the incoming data.

Crime Data and Analysis

Successful adaptation of the 3D mapping technology requires complete and accurate data to be obtained. The functionality of the system can be assured only when the data is duly collected, entered and then analyzed, although there is a high likelihood of human errors. These errors can occur in the form of misspelled street names, wrong coding, and wrongly used abbreviations (Nishijima & Nakakuni, 2011). Whenever the data is entered, it is important to ensure that it is reliable and that no essential information is lost in the data transfer process. There is a high probability of compromising the quality of data in crime mapping technology as a result of poor training and ignorance. Indeed, at a basic level, crime mapping fails to address all aspects of crime, since not every criminal act is reported, and hence not all crimes are displayed in the maps. In some cases, the police have unreliable information about some crimes, especially about geographical location and others victims. On the other hand, since crime mapping is primarily focused on street crimes, the disproportionate emphasis on the related violations is created. Therefore, while the 3D mapping approach is largely associated with good utilization of existing data, to a large extent it is dependent on data accuracy.
Besides the problems in the process of data collection, there is also a concern about analysis and presentation of information. Incomplete analysis could result in poor statistics. Further change of analytical parameters or adjustment of the algorithms can have a negative impact on the crime mapping resulting in statistics that are affiliated with misleading conclusions. According to Nishijima and Nakakuni (2011), misleading statistics will also automatically lead to inaccurate statistical maps, and in fact, could be used as propaganda tools. Dependence on 3D mapping technology for crime analysis must thus be closely connected with the understanding pressures that is resultant from administrative as well as political affiliations and which have an effect on the analysis. The engagement of community groups and governing political affiliations has an influence on crime patterns and the interpretation of techniques for combating crime.

Privacy Issues and Constitutional Rights Questions

According to the Data Protection Act (DPA) of 1998, there are several guiding procedures for good information handling. In essence, the procedural rules give people particular rights that relate to the individual information, and thereby enforce some due obligations upon the security organs responsible for processing it. The guidance helps data controllers to assess and control the impact of privacy in matters of crime mapping. However, transparency remains the default aspect in crime location (Wilson, 2007). For instance, the information about crime areas must be availed for the public unless it endangers people reporting on crimes. On the contrary, if there is no risk likely to happen, it is advisable to make disclosure of the criminal map locations, so that the public is able to understand criminal activities in their locality. Adopting heat maps, zones and blocks are ideal in representing the types of crime in case it does not interfere with privacy issues.

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The privacy risk issues come as a result of the repeated publishing of crime affiliated information and include the way of its categorization. In the case of high-frequency of publication, there is the likelihood of connections between the security agents and individuals, and also the type of crimes. When there are a larger number of occupants within a crime mapping area, then there is reduced privacy risk. According to Caldararo (2008), it is critical to adopt a wider approach when dealing with crime mapping and the whole concept of social concern as well as with particular regard to privacy and transparency.

As far as constitutional equity is concerned, there are many concerns about class discrimination and racial profiling that have appeared as the result of the existence of areas with a high crime rate. Furthermore, the issues of inequality are not always defined, since many residents of areas with a high crime rate acknowledge the essence of additional security officers.

Conclusion

The investigators who make crime analysis adopt a systematically arranged procedure through which they can find a solution to criminal activities that are closely related. While different theories seek to find the relationships between criminal activities and the actual location of a crime, the technological tools such as the computer-generated maps help to facilitate sustained experimentation. The 3D computer generated mapping software helps to visualize data and assess human behavior in order to analyze the manner in which geography affects public safety. With the 3D maps, a record of crimes is created within the large database which contains information about diverse types of crimes, the time when crimes are committed and the precise geographical coordinates. With this reason, the jurisdiction is able to conduct an analysis of crime patterns and identify crime hotspots in order to develop better policies structure. The 3D map presentation provides a platform for communicating the conditions, patterns as well as trends, and hence allows the analysts to introduce effective policy changes.

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