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Spring 2003
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New Book Features Case Studies and Implementations

GIS in Law Enforcement Now Available

GIS in Law Enforcement by Mark R. Leipnik and Donald P. Albert, Department of Geography, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, is the first book devoted to GIS in law enforcement. GIS in Law Enforcement was recently published by Taylor and Francis. Although the intended audience is GIS users in law enforcement, the book will also prove useful for researchers in academia and users of crime maps in local government, corrections, and homeland security agencies. GIS in Law Enforcement is divided into seven chapters devoted to the implementation of GIS and 10 chapters devoted to case studies of GIS use. The book has extensive discussions of GIS use in 41 law enforcement agencies in 10 U.S. states and five countries. Among those agencies covered are the following:

Knoxville, Tennessee--Knoxville uses ArcGIS and, in particular, ArcView in a variety of ways. Residential addresses of parolees have been geocoded. Comparisons of locations of incidents and clusters of crime with this data layer have yielded valuable clues. Some are clear-cut cases such as a series of sexual assaults that occurred in a greenbelt park located within blocks of a registered sex offender. He was singled out for suspicion based on his spatial proximity and was subsequently positively identified by the victims.

Spokane, Washington--A series of murders of prostitutes was analyzed by county GIS analysts working with the Serial Homicide Task Force using ArcInfo and ArcView software in conjunction with the Animal Movement extension (see sidebar on page 32). The locations where the bodies of 10 murdered women, each shot with the same 38-caliber pistol, were analyzed with the AMM, generating probability ellipses that might help identify the "home range" of the killer. This organized killer provided an additional inadvertent clue--shopping bags from local stores that he had used to cover the heads and hands of victims. The store locations were geocoded and added as an additional factor in the geographic profiling and locating of the killer, who eventually confessed.

National Guard Bureau--The U.S. Army National Guard Bureau (NGB) is working to stem the tide of illicit drugs flowing into the United States and to literally yank homegrown drugs out by the roots. The NGB uses a wide range of geospatial technologies such as airborne, forward-looking, infrared sensors; GPS binoculars; and digital elevation models. These imagery and coordinates are subsequently mapped, along with other information, using ArcGIS and other expert systems to identify potential drug activity areas and prioritize enforcement efforts. The NGB provides spatial analysis and mapping assistance to drug enforcement agencies at state and local levels in all 50 states and works closely with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Office of National Drug Control Policy. It is, in turn, supported by the Office of Naval Research, the Stennis Space Center, and Georgia Tech University.

Munich Police, Germany--With ArcGIS, the Munich police has developed basemaps that contain building footprints linked to residential addresses. This allows them to exactly geocode most incidents. The Munich police also map calls for service and misdemeanor infractions such as public drunkenness and traffic stops on a daily basis. They also generate other products including detailed crime density maps, travel time analyses, and specialized maps that integrate aerial photography and surveillance camera data.

GIS in Law Enforcement is a hardcover book with approximately 300 pages and more than 90 illustrations. It includes a glossary of GIS terms, an extensive list of crime mapping and GIS resources, and a complete bibliography. It is available from Taylor and Francis (USA tel.: 1-800-634-7064, Canada tel.: 877-226-2237, worldwide tel.: 44-0-1264-343071, e-mail:, Web:

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