Crime and Place: spatial relationships between public calls for law enforcement service and recorded incidents

Authors: Cynthia Barnett-Ryan*,
Topics: Applied Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Quantitative Methods
Keywords: Crime, Uniform Crime Reporting, Policing, Open Data
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Although there may be a general assumption that calls for service (CFS) could serve as a useful proxy for recorded incident information by law enforcement as more of this type of data is made available in open data initiatives. However, that assumption does not appear strongly supported by the evidence. Instead, there is some indication that law enforcement activities are mediated by the agency’s goals with its data such as intelligence-led policing or fulfillment of Clery Act reporting. Using data from two different types of law enforcement agencies within the same community, CFS and incident reports for property crimes in April 2014 were tested for spatial association using both the Cross-K Function and the Co-location Quotient. Findings from this study show there is a modest amount of detectable clustering of CFS for the agency that fits a model of traditional, municipal law enforcement. However, the law enforcement agencies serving a large university campus did not show any detectable spatial association for these events. The findings suggest that the movement towards using open data in research will need to take greater care in the selection of data to understand if assumptions about the data can be supported.

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