Statistical Testing for Hot Spots

In addition to crime mapping approaches, analysts are also able to draw upon spatial statistical testing to help crime analysts understand general patterns in the crime data. In addition, statistical tests can objectively determine the presence of high-crime areas or hot spots. These tests generally help the analyst decide whether clustering is occurring and whether the clustering is attributable to random chance.

Point Pattern Analysis

One approach to identifying a high-crime area is to use a point map. A map of points can demonstrate patterns of points that are clustered, uniform, or randomly distributed (Chainey and Ratcliffe, 2005; Boba, 2009). Point pattern analysis involves analysts developing a graduated point map and confirming clusters with spatial correlation statistics (Gorr and Kurland, 2012). Such statistical tests identify whether clustering of crimes is random (National Institute ofJustice, 2010); points that cluster together more than what would be expected from random chance would then be considered a hot spot.

 
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