Tuesday, February 4, 2014

CrimeStat IV Released...Not Just for Crime Analysis...

CrimeStat IV was recently released, but you do not need to be a crime analyst to appreciate it or find it useful. CrimeStat is a lightweight piece of freeware with heavyweight analytical capabilities. 

Last year, I used CrimeStat to show different programs performing basic density analysis.  But, CrimeStat can really do a whole lot more!  CrimeStat IV boosts 60 different routines, so there is plenty of analytic power in this Windows-based program.

An abbreviated list of features:
  • Importing two files with X/Y coordinates
  • Creating a reference grid
  • Using different types of distance measurement
  • Measures of Spatial Distribution (Mean center, standard distance,etc.)
  • Spatial Autocorrelation Indices
  • Distance Analysis (Nearest neighbor, Ripley's K,...)
  • Hot spot analysis 
  • Spatial Modeling/Interpolation
  • Journey-to-crime analysis
  • Spatial Modeling (several types of regression models)
  • Time-series forecasting
First, CrimeStat is not a GIS.  For example, you cannot view, create, or edit spatial data or visualize any maps/GIS-related files within it.  Rather, it is a program that imports, conducts spatial analysis, and exports results for being imported into any GIS.

On the other hand, you can import GIS-related file types such as shapefiles, *.dbf files, and ASCII/delimited files (i.e. *.csv).  Once you have decided on what type of analysis you are going to run, be sure to read how to import your data.  Once past this minor obstacle, you will be free to conduct your analysis...for free!

CrimeStat's tabs make navigation easy.  The program opens to the Data Setup tab--which is a necessary first stop. Click to magnify the screenshot below.
Like many free and open source programs, learning on how to import your data is a crucial first step!  Understanding your projection, as always is also key, especially when moving the results back into a GIS.
The Spatial Description analysis tab shows the basic premise of CrimeStat.  After loading your data, the program makes the necessary computations and 'saves result to'/Saves output to a folder for importing into a GIS.
Since this is version 4.0, CrimeStat's documentation is well organized by type of analysis.  The website contains plenty of exercises and sample data to minimize.  I was a bit disappointed that a Quick Guide is actually more like previous' versions workbooks--and exceeds 200 pages.  I would recommend starting at Chapter 1 and reading each of the first few chapters on it own.  You can then move on to specific analytic chapters--as needed.  Still, all the documentation is in order. Lastly, you will find real world case studies by leading researchers.

In sum, pairing CrimeStat IV with a free GIS, such as QGIS, makes for a powerful and free combination!


  1. I know I'm a couple of years late here, but this is a good article. Geospatial Crime Mapping and predictive policing is top of mind.
    Tyler Wood

  2. CrimeStat is a great tool, and I plan on writing more about its functions in the near future, so stay tuned! -Jon

  3. Thanks Jon! We will!

  4. excelent post! thanks for the info.