Preventing crime and working to ensure a higher quality of life for the general public is a primary goal of any police agency, particularly at the local government level. For the City of Des Plaines, IL, these efforts led the city’s Police Department to start using a crime prevention technique, referred to as Comparative Statistics (COMPSTAT), that use crime statistics gathered over time to highlight incident patterns and high crime areas. By analyzing these patterns, the department can better focus their mitigation efforts in areas that are experiencing a higher number of crime incidents. To help show these patterns in a way that could be easily understood and disseminated by all department staff, the department asked the city’s Geographic Information System (GIS) personnel to generate both a weekly and monthly map product that plotted each crime location.
Every week, the Police Records Division, which tracks all crime data for the department, provides the GIS staff with a summary of the crime incidents from the previous week. Included in each summary report is the location of each incident, the date and time the incident occurred, and the crime code (i.e. theft) associated with each location. Using this information, the GIS staff is able to map out each crime location and, since the data is provided every week, provide a map product to the department showing the cumulative crime totals from the beginning of each month to the end of the current week being reported. Over time, various patterns in the data begin to emerge and higher crime areas become visually apparent on each resulting map product.
Without GIS, these efforts would prove to be more difficult as it would be challenging to understand where problems were emerging without having a tool to visualize where they are located within the city. By tracking crime locations using a spatial platform over the course of a few weeks, or even a few months, the department can visualize where high crime areas are and begin to implement practices that can help to reduce the number of incidents that are occurring.
Like most communities, the Village of Deerfield tracks the movement of Emerald Ash Borer. Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive beetle that devastates ash trees. Instead of using a series of treatments to kill the beetles, the Village has decided to remove affected trees.
In order to keep track of which trees are being affected, the Village inventoried all Ash trees and looked for signs of Emerald Ash Borer infestation. Once this inventory was collected, it was mapped out by using GIS. This allows the easy tracking of trees that are affected and removed. Supporting products can then be created that show the hotpots and even the potential movement of the beetle, which helps focus where tree removals are needed.
Spring is in the air and that means it’s once again time to dust off the ole mower. Although, like many larger municipalities, Tinley Park has decided to ditch the mower, and the yearly maintenance and higher labor costs that come along with the mower. The Village will contract out mowing responsibilities to a private landscaping company. This allows the Village to save on equipment maintenance costs, fuel and labor by paying a company who specializes in landscaping, providing a cheaper overall cost to the Village.
Previously the contractor was given an Excel table with the locations, and tractor types for each mowing area. The contractor would then estimate total mowing costs by visiting the 100+ sights. This was neither accurate nor efficient. When input into the GIS system that same table can be stored, tracked and most important displayed in a way that is more intuitive. Another very important advantage to managing the data in GIS is it can also provide an accurate estimate of the square footage, acreage or any other standard metric the contractor requires for measuring the mowing area. This allows the Village to receive a fair bid and not be over charged and ensures that the contractor has a better understanding of what exactly needs to be and does not need to be mowed.
Being that Riverside, IL is located in the Chicago Metropolitan area there are many modes of transit available to the general population in addition to the traditional ones such as bike and bus routes. The Geographic Information System (GIS) staff has consolidated transit information to assist transportation planning efforts in The Village. The data is available to village staff in their interactive mapping application giving them a quick resource to review the transportation network that is available to residents and visitors including website links to the schedules and other supporting documents that the regional transit organizations have made available on the internet including train and bus schedules. A quick look at this information shows how connected or disconnected the various transit options are and may suggest initiatives to promote use of those facilities and their accessibility to businesses or even realize ways to close gaps between the transit stops.
This month’s update includes the debut of some much anticipated enhancements to MapOffice™. Enhanced search options were added in both MapOffice™ Advanced and Public. This enhancement offers the ability to search for an address including its unit (e.g. #, Suite, -, Apt, Unit) or search for familiar landmarks without knowing an exact address (e.g. police, fire, library, park). In addition to this enhancement new reports were added to the existing community statistics tool. They provide the ability to export results to a spreadsheet as well as five new custom queries related to garbage pickup, fire hydrants, and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts. The community statistics is available only in MapOffice™ Advanced users.
The Village of Deerfield has a strict Appearance Code that applies to current and new businesses that are looking to operate within the Village border. The code has criteria intending to assist in focusing on appearance standards that will not restrict imagination, innovation, or variety.
To simplify and assist with this code, GIS was used to create a series of maps to show commercial locations across the Village to show areas that are affected. These were then put into a booklet that the Village will distribute to prospective companies. By using GIS, the Village was able to illustrate where this code will be enforced and help reduce extra time spent having to figure out if a new business will be affected.