Local crime-fighting turning to geospatial technology for solutions

Valrie Grant

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist and Business Consultant Valrie Grant, who was recently awarded a crime-mapping contract under the Ministry of Public Security has told the Stabroek Business that the initiative by the Government now better positions it to have reliable digital information of “real world events in a computer environment.  The application    of Geographic Information System (GIS) in the crime analysis is rapidly growing, especially for crime hotspots and has a direct bearing in the identification and evaluation of those hotspots to enable effective intervention measures through the utilization of appropriate recourses,” Grant told the Stabroek Business in an exclusive interview earlier this week. 

Grant, who told Stabroek Business that it was important for citizens to understand the ways in which the exercise adds value to effective policing, told Stabroek Business the crime mapping allows for law enforcement to visualize and analyze crime patterns along with other trends. This collection, compilation, evaluation, analysis and dissemination of information about   crime   demographics,   social   and   economic   characteristics, fosters a better understanding of why and not just where crime is occurring.

Explaining that GIS  crime mapping plays a critical role in all stages in crime prevention, Grant said that maps support  data   collection   and   make   it  easier   to  present   anaylze and disseminate crime data, enables law   enforcement   to   make   better   decisions,   target resources, and formulate crime-fighting strategies.

Apart from enabling the realization of maps designed to ensure consistency in crime-prevention, the realization of the project will facilitate Spatial data which Grant says “is of vital importance to the Ministry of Public Security and for decision-makers as a whole in the planning and development of the state’s growth.

 Grant told Stabroek Business that in undertaking such a project the Government of Guyana was signalling its intention to take ‘centre stage” in location initiative activities by employing    Geospatial   technologies   inclusive   of    Geographic   Information   Systems   (GIS),   Remote   Sensing   and   Global   Navigation   Satellite    Systems (GNSS).

 Grant told Stabroek Business that the project “will use the latest software and emerging technology to    deliver the best solution to the Ministry of Public Security in order to contribute to the building of their system in the most cost    effective and sustainable manner.” According to the Jamaican-born Grant the project will also seek to provide “the needed training not only in the    use of the technology and systems created but also in change management.   The idea is that    this   consultancy   will   add   value   to   the   Citizen   Security   Strengthening   Programme   (CSSP) initiative and realize   improvements in   the   collection   of primary   crime data by   the   police allowing   for   crimes   to   have   an   exact recorded GPS   coordinate data.” This data, Grant said, will  be incorporated with indirect social, economic, demographic, and infrastructural data to enrich the analysis, enabling better crime visualization and the identification of trends and model hotspots.

Grant said that this will allow for the examination of crime data within a spatial context, rather than relying exclusively on statistical analysis.  The exercise will also allow for the assessing and tracking of crime police stations so as to enable more effective allocation of resources.

“Using GIS in crime mapping will not only lead to better planning of strategic operations, but also    improved tactical and administrative procedures and strategies,” Grant told Stabroek Business.

And according to Grant the project will also seek to “empower communities to become active partners in crime reduction initiatives whilst raising the general awareness of and capacity regarding geospatial technologies  since the use of these kinds of technology is becoming mainstream.”

The consultancy is scheduled to commence next month.

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