Mapping Crime: Understanding Hot Spots

John Eck, Spencer Chainey, James Cameron, Michael Leitner, Ronald E. Wilson

About This Report

Much of crime mapping is devoted to detecting high-crime density areas known as hot spots. Hot spot analysis helps police identify high-crime areas, types of crime being committed and the best way to respond. This publication presents various hot spot mapping and analysis techniques, software options and capabilities and a theoretical discussion that frames various types of hot spots within policing strategies and response.

In this report, chapters progress in sophistication. Chapter 1 is for novices to crime mapping. Chapter 2 is more advanced, and chapter 3 is for highly experienced analysts. The report can be used as a companion to another crime mapping report published by the National Institute of Justice in 1999, Mapping Crime: Principles & Practice, by Keith Harries.

What did the researchers find?

  • Identifying hot spots requires multiple techniques; no single method is sufficient to analyze all types of crime.
  • Current mapping technologies have significantly improved the ability of crime analysts and researchers to understand crime patterns and victimization.
  • Crime hot spot maps can most effectively guide police action when production of the maps is guided by crime theories (place, victim, street, or neighborhood).


See also

Date Created: January 28, 2008