Geocoding Accuracy Considerations in Determining Residency Restrictions for Sex Offenders
Geocoding is commonly employed to determine the location of addresses for use in spatial analysis, including the establishment of residency restriction zones for sex offenders. Street geocoding has known limitations in terms of positional accuracy, which may adversely affect spatial analytic methods. A case study on sex offenders in Orange County, Florida, is used to characterize the positional accuracy of street geocoding and its impact on spatial analysis. Positional accuracy of street geocoded locations of sex offenders' residences, schools, and day care facilities was determined using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) by measuring the distance to the correct property boundaries. Results show that positional errors in street geocoding are substantial and may bias conclusions drawn from proximity analysis. Findings strongly suggest that street geocoding is not appropriate for assessing residency restriction violations for sex offenders. These findings have important implications for criminal justice policies related to residency restrictions for sex offenders.
Criminal Justice Policy Review
Causes and Prevention of Crime