Public safety is a massive undertaking. Those tasked with the responsibility are keenly aware that, when they are called upon, time is of the essence. To get the job done quickly and efficiently, location technology is interwoven into response strategies from the first interaction with dispatch to guiding police, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel to the scene with detailed aerial, street, and indoor mapping. Location technology is instrumental in emergency situations, but its benefits aren’t limited solely to these applications. Law enforcement officials leverage GIS for crime analysis and investigation to better understand — and ultimately prevent — circumstances that threaten public safety.
Location Technology and Traffic Accident Analysis
With 276 million vehicles in operation in the United States1, accidents are so commonplace the vast majority go unnoticed by the public at large. That’s not the case for police officers. Whether it’s a fender bender or a major collision, a law was broken and needs to be investigated.
Officers rely on location technology to safely arrive at the scene of the accident. It also enables them to virtually work with dispatchers to assess fastest routes for emergency vehicles, and determine traffic rerouting patterns should the situation warrant.
Location technology also provides an objective, accurate way for law enforcement and public safety officials to identify areas where crashes frequently occur. Map data gathered over a period of time reveal patterns of accident hotspots that need to be addressed either through higher police presence or modifications to physical roadways or signage.
GIS for Crime Analysis
Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies all have occasion to apply GIS for crime analysis simply because every crime is attached to a location. It may also unlock insights surrounding the situation, circumstance, and environment. However, investigators derive only a fraction of GIS’ value within the context of the specific criminal occurrence.
Compiling and comparing GIS-documented crime data provides a “big picture” of patterns and clusters that point to certain trends and interrelationships of locations, topography, and demographics. In turn, current and historical data proves beneficial in formulating crime-deterrence strategies and assessing their effectiveness.
Public safety is challenging, largely because of the shifting dynamics. Enhancing measures on every level with GIS is essential to keep pace, as is understanding the role of location technology. Learn more in our eBook, Emerging Trends in Location Technology.