Helping Law Enforcement Identify, Predict and Respond to Hot Spots

By analyzing existing data, NIJ researchers are developing better ways to help officers and analysts use hot spot techniques to identify future clusters of crime.

The main purpose of the project, A Comprehensive Multigeographic Analysis of Hot Spot Techniques, is to help analysts anticipate future hot spots given that the hot spots are affected by the geographic characteristics of their jurisdiction, such as density.

Researchers are:

  • Using multiple measures to analyze actual incident data from multiple jurisdictions from across the United States representing different types and sizes.
  • Determining which mapping techniques work best for each type of jurisdiction and if some techniques perform equally well across all jurisdictions.
  • Developing methods to appropriately use both techniques together.

The result will be a menu of techniques that will give law enforcement an improved toolkit for identifying, predicting and responding to hot spots for different types of crime that take place within in a specific jurisdiction. These techniques will be applicable to hot spots in varying urban structures — dense urban centers, widespread suburban areas and large rural areas.

Date Created: October 14, 2009