JIS News

Over the next few months the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) expects to utilise Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping in the fight against crime.
This according to Deputy Commissioner of Police in Charge of Crime, Mark Shields, who said the JCF would soon be in a position to discern via mapping where “every single murder occurs, where every shooting occurs, where break-ins occur.where every motor vehicle is stolen from”.
He was speaking at the GIS Day 2005 Exposition at Assembly Hall, University of the West Indies, Mona recently under the theme, ‘GIS: Securing Our Communities.’
“There will be a whole range of data available. By looking at the GIS system we will be able to see exactly where crimes are being committed,” he explained.
This initiative, he said, would not be without challenges, as some areas of Jamaica, particularly the inner city communities, would sometimes prove difficult to pinpoint because of the lack of proper addresses.
Outlining the benefits of the system, the Deputy Commissioner asserted that while it would be “quite difficult for us to pinpoint where a crime happens there.with the system that we have, we will be able to go to the scene of a crime by using GIS and satellite technology. We can just press a button and locate exactly where that crime happened”.
In addition, DCP Shields said, the capability of the police in solving crimes involving persons committing murder against a particular group of individuals as in the case of serial killers would be markedly enhanced.
“By using GIS technology, we will be able to look at the dump sites of the bodies and experts will be able to give detectives a really good idea of where the perpetrators of those murders are likely to live,” he outlined.
“In that way GIS is able to help in other ways rather than just plotting where crimes have occurred. GIS will help us to help you to be aware of crime because in my view, crime data is not something that should be a secret and kept solely for the use of the police,” he added.
In the future he said, GIS technology would be able to demonstrate to the public, where crime was being committed as well as what time it occurred. This, he said would go a long way in persuading the public to be more careful in the way they protect themselves and their property.
The Deputy Commissioner also linked the impending technological boost to his ‘hot spot policing’ initiative, which centres on policing areas where crime occurs. He said by using GIS mapping, the JCF could pinpoint where police personnel could be deployed in order to detect and prevent crimes that are being committed.
He cautioned against the urge to underestimate the importance of technology in the fight against crime.
Technology, he posited, had become more important because there was a reluctance of many people in Jamaica to give evidence at trials. “Anything that we can do to alleviate the burden.the value of the human witness will always be an advantage in terms of fighting crime and trying to reduce it in Jamaica,” the Deputy Commissioner said.
GIS represents computer software, data and solutions which are used by millions of people worldwide in government, education and business to provide solutions to real world problems and to improve the decision-making process.
The observation of GIS Day began in 2000 and has since grown to be an annual celebration with the first national event held in 2002 at the University of the West Indies.