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An Assessment of Police Officers’ Perception of Hotspots: What Can Be Done to Improve Officer’s Situational Awareness?

Ilijazi, Venezija, Milic, Nenad, Milidragovic, Dragan, Popovic, Brankica
ISPRS international journal of geo-information 2019 v.8 no.6
crime, law enforcement, police, Serbia
The idea behind patrol activity is that police officers should be the persons best acquainted with the events and people in their patrol area. This implies that they should have access to relevant data and information (e.g., where and how to pay attention, when and how crimes are committed) in order to effectively perform their police duties. To what extent their perceptions of the places prone to crime (hotspots) are accurate and what the implications are for police efficiency if they are incorrect is an important question for law enforcement officials. This paper presents the results of a study on police practice in Serbia. The study was conducted on a sample of 54 police officers and aimed to determine the accuracy of the perception of residential burglary hotspots and to evaluate the ways police officers are informed about crimes. The results of the study have shown that the situational awareness of police officers is not at a desired level, with ineffective dissemination of relevant data and information as one of the possible reasons.