Strategic Crime Analysis (SCA) focuses on operational strategies in an attempt to develop solutions to chronic crime-related problems. Spatial analytic techniques associated with SCA usually involve analysis of geographic units (e.g., jurisdictions, census tracts, patrol districts, beats). SCA focuses on analysis of clusters in order to produce information that can be used for resource allocation, beat configuration, the identification of nonrandom patterns in criminal activity, and unusual community conditions. In short, SCA provides law enforcement agencies with the ability to provide more effective and efficient service to the community. One of the most popular analytic techniques used in SCA is crime hot spot analysis.
Unfortunately, the rapid development and use of crime mapping and analysis (especially among law enforcement agencies) has outpaced the concern for data quality and measurement issues. For example, few agencies are aware of how crime incident location data contained in a records management system is converted into latitude and longitude coordinates used by crime mapping software— a process known as geocoding. Positional accuracy refers to the difference between where a crime incident location is geocoded and the true location of where the event took place. If the positional accuracy of geocoded crime data is substantially large, results of spatial analysis can be meaningless. In a recent case study of registered sex offenders in Orange County, Florida, for example, researchers demonstrated the positional accuracy of street geocoding and its impact on assessing violations of residency restriction laws. The results showed that the positional accuracy in street geocoded locations of schools, daycare facilities, and sex offender residences was off as much as 5 miles, 7 miles, and nearly 18 miles, respectively