Crime prevention is an important area of study in our society that plays an integral role in the lives of citizens and the local police who enlist the aid of strategic counter crime plans to tackle the urgency created everyday when crimes are committed. This mode of counter acting crime is termed “problem oriented policing” and is a policing approach where individual pieces of police data are critically examined with the hope that the findings learned will lead to discovering a new and more effective counter crime strategy. Crime mapping is one of these analyzed tools allowing officers to understand criminalistic data and map out individual incidents, crime routes, hot zones and predict where the next crime may occur. Through mapping spatial relationships, predictable policing efforts can be put into effect that cut crime rates by policing areas that need it most.

Crime mapping is a strategy used by most police agencies but it lacks in

specific factors most of which is a cohesive unified visual language. It is also

restricted to crimes which don’t take into account non-criminal police field work, emergency response and search and rescue efforts. Furthermore, the sharing of information between departments becomes problematic as each department customizes their imagery, colors, etc. Perhaps one of the greatest challenges to crime mapping is the element of change. Change allows for patterns to emerge which allow officers to define those patterns and effectively predict future criminal occurrences.

This thesis serves to fill the gap in crime mapping by unifying the strategy with a

series of standard icon system sets that span the breadth of law enforcement duties. A dynamic flexible icon system strives to create order and concise visual interpretation between officers and analysts within departments and between departments. The system is flexible, interchangeable and dynamic by addressing one of the most important aspects of change, time. The symbols are based on time of day and also express relative time periods when events occur. By improving the functionality of crime mapping, citizens, officers and communities can become safer.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Crime prevention--Data processing; Crime analysis; Applied human geography

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Visual Communication Design (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Design (CIAS)


Chris Jackson

Advisor/Committee Member

Nancy Ciolek

Advisor/Committee Member

John McCluskey


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at HV7936.C88 C43 2015


RIT – Main Campus

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