Tragic events such as the 2014 Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Mo. and the police-involved death of Eric Garner in New York City has spurred debate about whether or not police departments within the U.S. are becoming more militarized. The emphasis seems to be on the word “more,” implying that militarization is somehow a foregone conclusion and the question is how much more militarized they will become. Are these incidents evidence that police are increasingly militarized?
One of the most important technological advancements to enhance the capabilities of law enforcement is the use of crime mapping software, which allows agencies to track crimes occurring in a jurisdiction. By plotting what, when, and where crimes are occurring, law enforcement executives can use the resulting visual data to identify crime hotspots and use this information to allocate resources to areas of repeated criminal activity.