Monday, March 1, 2010

Crime! Works So Good it’s Practically Criminal

Maryland Crime Mapping and Analysis Program

With a renewed grant, the GIS lab continues its work to provide crime mapping in the state of Maryland. The Washington College GIS Lab also conducts an outreach program, which invites law enforcement agencies to sign up for crime mapping training. Caryn Thomas ’05 M’09 and Andrew Wright guide student interns in the lab. Here are some recent projects that these students are doing.

Mary Kelley ‘11
I am working on a project to evaluate differences in crime rates between communities designed with the principles of new urbanism verses traditional cul-de-sac style communities. This is a fairly controversial subject and should generate a lot of interest when I publish the final report.

Tracey Bienemann ‘11
I am working with the 2000 United States Census data to define disadvantaged census
blocks based on previous research. The challenging census data first had to be decoded to determine what exactly each column of data contained, followed by selecting the criteria found to be important in the classification of disadvantage level in census blocks. Once the data is decoded, the necessary criteria will be brought to a map, and then it will be organized to show the chosen data in ranks to display census blocks containing some of the following features: low income, high numbers of vacant housing and house/apartment renters, high percentages of school drop-outs, high percentages of mother-only households and high percentages of unemployment. Determining disadvantaged neighborhoods may allow authorities to further aid those who are impoverished and in danger of crime. One area that maps may focus on is census blocks around the city of Baltimore.

Jeffrey Nutting ‘13
Once I graduate from Washington College my career goal is working with the FBI. When I learned there were openings within the crime analysis and mapping division of the GIS program I saw it as a great opportunity. The crime maps, among other work I’ve been doing this year, has helped reinforce my goal. This year has been a great experience and is extremely beneficial for me. I appreciate the opportunity that has been given to me to work with in the lab.

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