RAND Maps Police and Security Worker Concentrations Nationwide

By Matthew Harwood

A new mapping tool could help U.S. police departments target areas packed with security workers for more efficient recruiting efforts, according to its developer, the RAND Corporation.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), RAND's Center on Quality Policing has developed color-coded maps for all 50 states and the District of Colombia that show neighborhood-based concentrations of "protective service occupations"—firefighters, law enforcement officers, and private security officers— by "block groups"—a unit of measurement used by the Census Bureau, which typically represents 600 to 3,000 residents.

The maps, however, do not show where security workers make their living but where they make their home, according to U.S. Census data.

Users of the mapping tool can choose a state and then drill down to local block groups. RAND used multiple variables to estimate how many security workers can be expected to live in a particular block group. This predicted number of security workers was then compared to how many actually live in the area, according to Census data. Block groups with higher than expected concentrations of security workers received a blue shade that gets darker as the concentrations continue to rise, while areas with less than the estimated security workers residing there receive a darkening shade of red the more scarce they become in a particular block group.

For instance, the map below shows the block group inside of which ASIS International's headquarters sits, a mixed business and residential area. According to the map, security workers are mildly underrepresented in this area, although a residential area just north of this area is saturated with security workers.


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