Research-based policing

Analyzing where and when crime occurs helps law enforcement determine how best to respond to the incidents and focus their resources to make communities safer.




Analyzing where and when crime occurs helps law enforcement determine how best to respond to the incidents and focus their resources to make communities safer.

Crime mapping is an in-demand skillset now possible with technology such as geographic information systems (GIS) and is part of a new major under development at Indiana State.

Brian Schaefer, assistant professor at State

“With crime mapping, you actually get to develop a useful skill, both in terms of creating and using the maps,” said Brian Schaefer, assistant professor at State. “Realistically, you’re going to be interpreting crime maps in your career if you go into law enforcement.”

Applying this knowledge isn’t just focused on the criminals, said Schaefer.

“Practitioners need to and do think about the places in which crime occurs. For instance, shoplifting reports at Walmart can consume a large amount of a police department’s time, so we have to think about, as researchers, what can a police department really do to prevent the crime? What can they really do to respond? If police are spending an hour for every shoplifting report, that’s taking them away from a whole lot of other activities that they might be able to do,” he said. “We should also think about what Walmart can do to prevent crime internally. Whether product placement or security might reduce it?”

Schaefer, who initially intended to make a career in law enforcement, changed career paths while pursuing his master’s degree at Eastern Kentucky University.

“I love learning and thinking about crime and our response to crime,” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to work on four projects now with police departments, researching various strategies and training that they’ve implemented. Being involved in research is a great avenue for enhancing a student’s educational experience.”

 



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