Monday, February 21, 2011

New Funding to Enhance Washington College's Crime Mapping, Analysis for State

CHESTERTOWN—The Crime Mapping and Analysis Program (CMAP) at Washington College has received $177,847 in additional funding to expand and enhance the crime mapping and analysis it provides to the State of Maryland.

Part of the College’s Center for Environment and Society, CMAP has produced timely mapping, analysis, and reporting of criminal justice data from a variety of state and local sources since 2008. It works directly with the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP) and also collaborates with local, state, and Federal law enforcement agencies on geospatial analysis and training. The goal is to use the power of computer mapping to reduce violent crime and property crime, making Maryland communities safer places to live.

One of the key initiatives spearheaded by CMAP is the Maryland Offender Management System, or MOMS. This innovative web-based application centralizes justice information and shares it with designated law-enforcement and criminal justice agencies. The new funding will provide a number of technical enhancements to MOMS, increase the ability of the application to handle additional datasets, and improve the security and reliability of the system.

The FBI actively supports the development of intelligence tools such as MOMS “to better protect the citizens of Maryland and Delaware through the integration of law enforcement data,” says James Costigan, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, FBI Baltimore Field Office. “This collaborative leveraging of information results in safer and more synergistic investigative results."

Washington College students also play an important role in CMAP projects. Several highly qualified interns in the Geographic Information Systems lab work on assignments that include crime analysis, map creation, and data-quality improvement projects. All students, staff, and faculty involved with the project must pass state and federal criminal backgrounds checks as part of the security protocols that ensure that sensitive data is not disclosed.

One recent project requested by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services was completed by Tracie Bienemann ’11. The Washington College senior mapped the residential locations of released offenders with drug abuse and mental health concerns, and then compared that data with the current locations of treatment facilities that address addiction and mental-health issues. With Bienemann’s data, the state can evaluate where to target new resources for treating the offenders and, thus, reduce recidivism rates

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