For the past decade the National Institute of Justice has held the Crime Mapping Research Conference which focuses on advocating for policy decisions, and solutions to problems, to be guided by GIS related research. The importance of the conference stems from the fact that crime is a phenomenon that can be understood spatially, and as technology improves, so does the quality of the research that is produced. The Tenth Crime Mapping Research Conference gives the growing community of researchers and practitioners a place to present, debate, and communicate about ongoing research.
The 2009 Crime Mapping Conference is located in New Orleans, Louisiana at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel from August 19-22. The lineup of presenters is quite impressive as is the range of topics being covered. The conference includes workshops covering a number of issues related to GIS and crime mapping research, opportunities for pre-conference training, and a number of panels that will cover cutting edge research topics related to the study of crime. In addition, the conference is holding a Map competition that judges participants' ability to create effective maps that clearly and uniquely present data. The Conference is headlined by two Plenary Panels, the first, titled, Geographic Aspects of Sex Offender Residency Restriction Laws (SORRL), that will evaluate issues related to sex offender residency laws. This should be an interesting panel as issues related to Sex Offender laws are by nature impacted by space, which provides a clear need for a more advanced understanding. The second Plenary Panel, titled, Defining High Crime Areas: Implications for Policing and Courts, should also be a very interesting topic. Often law enforcement agencies are accused of being focused on certain areas defined as "high crime", yet there is not a clear definition of what makes up a high crime area, or why the police are constantly needed in certain locations. This panel discusses the issues related to this definitional problem, and attempts to provide information for making practical decisions based on research.
In addition to the Plenary Panels, there are a number of presentations being given at the conference that cover many issues relevant to the current economic and social circumstances facing many people. There are presentations being given about modeling crime patterns, crime travel demands, census data, crime hot spots, using theory to guide practice, policing, gangs, traffic, terrorism, housing, urban design, and a number of other topics. Obviously, one of the greatest aspects of such a conference is the opportunity to put a face with some of the most important names in the field of spatial crime analysis. There will be no shortage of talent at this conference and those who attend will not be disappointed with what they see. This conference is a great place for students, academics, and practitioners interested in GIS related research to see how GIS is utilized and disseminated on a national level. The Crime Mapping Research Conference is a great place for talking about research ideas, learning, and having a good time!