The Importance of Applied Crime Mapping in Criminal Justice

Much like any other degree, in order to truly understand if a criminal justice degree is appropriate for you, you must learn what courses are required. The required coursework for a criminal justice degree program varies based upon several factors. The first of these is the level of degree you wish to earn (associate’s, bachelor’s, etc.), and the second factor being the teaching institution. Regardless of degree level, applied crime mapping is an essential coursework. Typically found in the core curriculum section of your degree, applied crime mapping is utilized by professionals throughout the criminal justice system. If you wish to work for federal agencies, such as the FBI or CIA, then you must gain a full understanding of crime mapping and its various methodologies. Consider taking advanced-level courses or an applied mapping certificate program upon graduation to further enhance your career opportunities and advancements.

Purpose of Applied Crime Mapping

The primary purpose of crime mapping is to gain a better understanding of how crime is affecting specific portions of a community. In a more advanced setting, theories and concepts learned throughout this course are used to create a “predictive crime mapping,” which is used by law enforcement agencies to forecase future crime based upon general and narrowed crime statistics. The level of importance of this course depends on the career path you wish to take. For example, criminologists and forensic psychologists utilize applied crime mapping more than lower-level law enforcement professionals. Regardless, a basic understanding of this topic is essential to move forward and progress your own career as well as the criminal justice industry as a whole.

Topics Within the Applied Crime Mapping Course

The exact topics covered within this course can slightly vary; however, the majority of applied crime mapping courses cover universal theories and concepts. Students are given access to resources that assist in enhancing their analytical and technical crime mapping skills. After covering theoretical topics, students are given access to various resources, such as GIS maps, to help examine crime data within specific parameters.

Throughout the course, students will learn the necessary techniques and skills to cultivate maps that convey specific data and relationships between data sets, which include criminal demographics and geographic location. This information is used by law enforcement agencies to help cultivate effective patrolling and intervention techniques. The majority of criminal behavior follows specific patterns. These patterns are then used to help intervene with the primary goal of reducing preventable crime.