Interdisciplinary Seminar Series

Title: Risk Terrain Modeling: Using Basic GIS Functionality for Spatial Risk Assessment and Event Forecasting

Speaker: Joel Caplan, Rutgers University, School of Criminal Justice

Date: Monday, April 11, 2011 12:00 - 1:00 pm

Location: DIMACS Center, CoRE Bldg, Room 431, Rutgers University, Busch Campus, Piscataway, NJ


With the growing utilization of intelligence-led operations in the public safety and security community, risk assessments for crime and other hazards are especially important for tactical actions, resource allocations, and short- and long-term planning. Risk terrain modeling (RTM) is an approach to spatial risk assessment that standardizes risk factors to common geographic units. Separate risk map layers are then combined in a Geographic Information System (GIS) to produce "risk terrain" maps showing the presence, absence, or intensity of all risk factors at every location throughout the geography. Risk terrain maps show where conditions are ideal or conducive for crimes or other hazardous events to occur in the future. RTM builds upon underlying principles of hotspot mapping, environmental criminology, and problem-oriented policing, but offers a new and statistically valid way to articulate and communicate criminogenic and vulnerable areas at the micro-level.It "paints a picture" of environmental context. This presentation is an introduction to the origin of RTM and its conceptual and technical steps. This is presented with a particular focus on forecasting the location of shooting incidents in Irvington, NJ. It will be demonstrated how to use RTM to perform spatial risk assessments and develop strategic models to forecast where problems are likely to emerge, and to allocate resources and engage in steps that might reduce risks and prevent problematic events from occurring in the future.

Link to Rutgers Center on Public Security (RCPS).

DIMACS/CCICADA Interdisciplinary Series, Spring 2011