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Monday, December 07, 2009

ESRGC Develops Crime Mapping Software for Salisbury Police

SALISBURY, MD---While investigating crimes in the field, Salisbury Police officers often need to know about recent criminal activities in their patrol areas.

With the help of Dr. Arthur Lembo of Salisbury University’s Geography and Geosciences Department, officers soon will be able to map and analyze crimes right from their patrol cars.

Lembo, who is also technical director for the Eastern Shore Regional GIS Cooperative (ESRGC), has received $185,000 to partner with the Salisbury Police Department to develop three modules to identify locations, patterns and trends of crime activities in the city.  These modules include an Internet-based crime mapping system, an interactive crime analysis dashboard and an in-field GIS application.

“We’ve worked with SU’s Geography Department for several years and are very excited to partner again on this new project,” said Lt. John Moore of Salisbury Police. “The award is the culmination of years of discussions regarding data sharing and crime analysis.  Considering past experiences working with SU, we have high expectations for this project, which will be instrumental in helping us make Salisbury a safer community.”

The Internet-based mapping system will allow Salisbury Police to explore crime patterns and trends city-wide, based on factors such as type, time of year and time of day.  Other capabilities include summary statistics for patrol areas, and statistical analyses of crime patterns.  This will help identify potential clusters or correlations with other crimes, such as burglaries and abandoned homes.

The crime analysis dashboard will act like an automobile dashboard, displaying information collected from various sources in a visual and understandable format.  The in-field GIS application is an Internet-based map in patrol cars. 

Helping develop the applications are SU senior Frank Rowe, a computer science major from Ocean City, MD, and SU alumnus Tu Hoang (’09), a former computer science intern, who has since been hired by the ESRGC.  Other members of the ESRGC also are assisting with data preparation for the project.

“These types of projects give our undergraduate students real world experiences,” Lembo said.  “They will graduate with marketable skills and be prepared to enter the workforce.”

Awarded by the Maryland Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, the funding is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  For more information, call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu



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