Kansas Association of Mappers

2024 Keynote Speaker

Jonas Baughman

Kansas City, Missouri Police Department

Seeking Answers to Improve Public Safety through Risk Terrain Modeling

The modern landscape of local governments, including police departments, has found itself at a point where data is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.  Moreover, merely having data is no longer enough; municipal departments are expected to take that data, analyze it, and provide meaningful insights to spur action to benefit the broader community.

Although a variety of data-driven tools exist, GIS has emerged as an indispensable tool to not only observe a problem spatially but promote collaborative problem-solving.  My keynote presentation provides an overview of a specific GIS technique known as Risk Terrain Modeling, or RTM, the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department (KCPD) has used to improve public safety, specifically firearm-related violent crime.

Unlike other law enforcement strategies, RTM does not look solely at previous locations or hotspots of crime or related incidents.  Instead, RTM looks at other datasets to diagnose environmental vulnerabilities in the landscape, ultimately identifying crime generators or attractors.  RTM therefore provides much-needed insight into why some areas of the city encounter more challenges than others.  In turn, the KCPD and its partners take the outputs of an RTM analysis and devise tasks to mitigate the environmental risks and promote safety, public health, and overall well-being.

My presentation will illustrate how KCPD has used RTM over the years, including its current iteration known as Data-Informed Community Engagement (DICE).  Conference attendees will learn about RTM’s methodology, practical applications, and tangible benefits provided to Kansas City’s communities.

RTM and other GIS techniques have the power to transform not only law enforcement or policing, but a broader sense of public service.  By embracing GIS with a more collaborative, holistic approach, local government can begin to find the answers they seek to address complex societal issues such as crime reduction and prevention.

Captain Jonas Baughman is a 21-year veteran of the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department (KCPD). He has held assignments in patrol, investigations, administration, and crime/intelligence analysis during his tenure. Captain Baughman quickly found crime analysis to be his professional passion early in his career with more than half of his tenure having been in positions related to crime or intelligence analysis. Among other assignments, he created and supervised the KCPD's first Real-time Crime Center team, directed a squad of detectives tasked with gang intelligence, and managed the Law Enforcement Resource Center, the KCPD's team of analysts. Captain Baughman is currently assigned to the Office of the Chief of Police where he provides strategic analysis and other metrics for executive staff and completes other data-driven projects.

Captain Baughman is a member of the National Institute of Justice’s LEADS Scholars program and his professional interests include spatial analysis and data visualization. His work and research have been granted awards from the International Association of Chiefs of Police and Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, as well as having been published in academic journals and professional publications. Captain Baughman co-authored Modern Policing Using ArcGIS Pro with Dr. Eric Piza and is currently writing a second book with the goal of educating law enforcement command staff about the power of crime analysis and GIS. He feels privileged to share his experience and learn from others, having collaborated with police departments and researchers across the United States and in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Japan, and Spain.

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