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Fast Class Video: Dr. Janine Bower Discusses “Using GIS Mapping Technology to Study and Control Crime.”

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth part of our Fast Class video series, which showcases faculty and staff members discussing their areas of interest and expertise.

Purchasing a map used to be on the to-do list of every mom and dad before piling the kids in the family station wagon and heading out on summer vacation.

Maps haven’t gone the way of the station wagon quite yet, but most folks prefer high tech to high-maintenance maps (when was the last time you folded one) to get where they need to go.

However, uses for geographic information system (GIS) mapping technology aren’t limited to auto navigation. For example, criminologists and criminal justice practitioners employ it to study and control crime and related problems, according to Janine Bower, assistant professor of criminology/criminal justice and sociology at Keuka College.

“Crime mapping has become more commonplace among law enforcement agencies with the development of GIS technology, “said Bower. “Guided by theories on crime and its relation to place and environment, it is used to investigate and solve a host of crime and delinquency problems.”

High school officials, said Bower, have used crime mapping to reduce bullying on school grounds.

“Law enforcement officials, seeking to better concentrate their time and resources, use crime mapping to identify trends and patterns in illegal drug manufacturing, auto theft, and burglary by identifying ‘hot spots’ or areas where crime is concentrated,” she said. “In addition, it is used to predict the movements of serial offenders in order to intercept them in the commission of a crime.”

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