Chestertown, MD — The Maryland Governor's Office of Crime Control (GOCCP) has awarded a grant of more than $95,000 to the Washington College Department of Sociology and Anthropology. The grant is being received through GOCCP's Maryland Statistical Analysis Center (MdSAC) Research Program, to assess regional crime mapping across Caroline, Cecil, Kent, Talbot and Queen Anne's counties and their municipalities and towns.
Since 2003, Washington College has operated a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) laboratory, which has completed a broad array of state, county and local mapping projects. This is the first criminal justice-related award for Washington College from GOCCP, and it places the College among an elite group of other Maryland research institutions working on law enforcement and crime issues.
Over the next year, the project will evaluate current crime data collection methods and will conduct a pilot project that explores the benefits of regionalization of mapping resources. Recommendations for future mapping will be provided to the state next November.
The project kick-off meeting, attended by more than 40 representatives including the state police, county sheriffs, local police chiefs, county GIS coordinators, GOCCP representatives and College project faculty, was held at the College in mid-January.
Crime mapping, widely used by big-city police forces, has helped them develop policing strategies to allocate resources at the right time to decrease community crime rates. This initiative is among the first to offer these techniques to rural and small-town law enforcement agencies on a regional basis.
"We've had some experience with crime mapping in Baltimore County, and we found it to be very useful," said Chestertown Police Chief Walter Coryell, formerly of the Baltimore County Police Department. "It's valuable in allowing you to see what's happening not only in a historical sense, but also has value in a sense of predicting where to allocate resources. It will be an interesting project, and we look forward to seeing how it goes."
"This grant is a wonderful example of collaboration for an important cause: collaboration between the disciplines of criminology and GIS, between Washington College and area law enforcement, and among the different Eastern Shore jurisdictions themselves," said Christopher Ames, Provost and Dean of Washington College. "We are proud to be a part of this effort to harness new technology in the service of crime prevention."
January 18, 2008