Crime Mapping Software: A tool for Effective Crime Detection and Control in Nigeria

Abasiama G. Akpan, Fergus U. Onu


The escalating rate of crime incidents in developing countries is due to change of technology and acquisitive way of life and also due to poor socio political, economic and environmental conditions. The distribution of crime incidents across the scenery is not geographically random since incidents are human phenomena. For incidents to occur, offenders and their targets - the victims and/or property - be required to exist at the same location for a period of time. Several factors, including the lure of potential targets and simple geographic convenience for an offender, influence where people choose to break the law. The Law Enforcement Agents have found it difficult to manage and control these crimes largely due to the obsolete methods and resources they employ in doing so. The purpose of this study is to see how the Law Enforcement Agents can adopt the use of crime mapping software in its operations and reap the benefits. Interviews were conducted with various units of the Nigeria Police Force. The findings of the interviews were combined with knowledge gained from an extensive literature review to produce a prototype of the crime mapping software that allows user interaction with the data.  This study shows that crime mapping software will give the Law Enforcement Agents better insights into crime mapping and analysis which will be a tool to help them effectively detect and control crime. It was unraveled that crime mapping software can give a better synoptic perspective to crime study, analysis, mapping, proactive decision making and prevention of crime. It was however suggested that migrating from traditional method of crime management to crime mapping software demands capacity building in the area of personnel, laboratory and facilities backed up with policy statement.

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