Cadcorp SIS – Spatial Information System from British GIS company Cadcorp is being used as the GIS engine for Project Jupiter, a regional government funded pilot IT project tackling crime and disorder being conducted by West Devon Community Safety Partnership. GIS has a lot to offer the partner organisations involved in reducing crime and disorder. It is a powerful tool to integrate, analyse and output a wide range of valuable crime and socio-economic data in a highly effective, visual manner. Results of this analysis can be used to best target crime reduction resources to those areas that exhibit high and/or consistent levels of crime and anti-social behaviour. General disorder or anti-social behaviour usually shows itself in particular geographical locations, or what the police term ‘hot spots’. By plotting the incidents and overlaying information from Social Services, Health, DSS, Education and the Local Authority for example, it should be possible to ascertain patterns and causal links that explain crime and anti-social activity. Once common areas are recognised the partner organisations can take action to jointly address the root causes of these problems and their resultant impact on a community. On a tactical level, a sudden surge in incidents in a particular area would lead to the cross-referencing of a variety of data. It may be that data from a prison shows that certain persons were released to that area at the relevant time. The appropriate partners, for instance the Police and Probation Service, would then be able to investigate possible links. Formal data exchange protocols exist between partners to allow analysis in greater depth, whilst ensuring that the rights of individuals are protected.
West Devon Borough Council is a user of Cadcorp SIS for a variety of council related applications. One such area is for the Borough to work in partnership with Devon County Council and the Devon & Cornwall Constabulary in addressing matters relating to crime and disorder. This is a statutory requirement under the 1998 Crime & Disorder Act. Such partnerships are known to the Government as Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs), although many are known locally as Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs). Over 350 exist in England and Wales today. These partnerships jointly create a three year strategy to tackle crime in a ‘joined-up’ fashion never previously pursued. West Devon CSP is special because it is now the pilot site of Project Jupiter in Devon . The principle is simple enough. As many partners as possible provide information in the form of sets of data in various geographical formats. The data will have been ‘cleansed’ using Privacy Enhancing Technology (PET) by the partners providing it in order to protect the rights of individuals. The data is all loaded onto a computer and the appropriate software is used to integrate, analyse and output the results in various ways. The data sets will all be geographically referenced in Cadcorp SIS so that colour overlays, graphs etc can be used to map the information.