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GIS in Crime Analysis: Examining Correlations Between Population and Arrest Counts Over Time

By Justin Sorensen

GIS (Geospatial Information Systems) are utilized by many fields and industries throughout the world. To highlight some of these fields, our Map Monday releases for the 2019 Spring Semester will provide examples of ways GIS can be employed within the work performed by such professionals.

For this map release, we will look at an example of GIS in Crime Analysis.

Examining Correlations Between Population and Arrest Counts Over Time

In the field of crime analysis, GIS plays an integral role in the transformation of law enforcement data. These roles include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Identifying incidents and events
  • Supporting pattern and trend analysis across time and space
  • Enhancing and implementing programs to reduce crime and disorder
  • Educating the public of crime concerns and community actions
  • Capturing crime series to forecast future occurrences

For this map, we will be viewing an example demonstrating how GIS can be used to visualize patterns and trends in both population growth and arrest counts over time by examining data collected throughout Utah over a 20-year period (1997-2017). Utilizing crime reports published annually by the Utah Department of Public Safety / Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification, an Excel database was generated identifying population and arrest counts for each county by year with an additional analysis calculating the percentage of population to arrest count. Incorporating this information into a GIS application, the data is brought to life through a visual comparison that allows viewers to interpret higher arrest percentages in relation to population counts and where these occurrences take place most often over time.

Interested in learning more about GIS in other fields? Check out our collection of past Map Monday releases @

About Map Monday from GIS Services:

Throughout the semester, GIS Services will be releasing bi-weekly maps on a variety of topics, demonstrating ideas and uses for incorporating geospatial technology into research and projects you are developing. To view our collection of maps, projects, or to learn more about the geospatial services offered through the J. Willard Marriott Library, please visit the GIS Services website @

Happy Mapping!

Justin Sorensen | GIS Specialist
Creativity & Innovation Services / GIS Services

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