Women in GIS: Lorraine Green Mazerolle

By Directions Staff

What is your position at the University
I am an Associate Professor in Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati.I have been here since July 1995.Before that I was an Assistant Professor in the College of Criminal Justice at Northeastern University in Boston; prior to that a PhD student at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Lorraine Green Mazerolle
I became involved in GIS as a PhD student at Rutgers.I was the Field Research Director of the National Institute of Justice funded ($800,000) project to test innovative ways to tackle street level drug markets.We used GIS to both identify street level drug markets and assess the impact of the law enforcement practices.

Since this first project, I have incorporated GIS into many of my projects: In an experiment of a civil remedies program in Oakland, California we used GIS to identify the locations and randomize the experimental locations to civil remedy and police patrol treatments; we used GIS in a public housing study in Jersey City; most recently, I am the Principal Investigator on a randomized experimental covering 30 jurisdictions in New England to test how much GIS enhances problem-oriented policing.The underlying assumption is that GIS enhances problem-oriented policing.But it's an untested assumption. We are testing this assumption under controlled field trial conditions. Results will be ready in about 1 year.

What is your background?
I have a PhD in Criminal Justice from Rutgers, and an MA in Criminal Justice from Rutgers.I am an Australian and came to the US 10 years ago.

Would you recommend GIS to other women?
In my experiences, GIS is a tool in law enforcement and has many uses.It's a powerful tool and one that makes a lot of logical sense to police.

What is the accomplishment of which you are most proud?
I have co-created several GIS applications.Perhaps my most ambitious project is the randomized experiment in New England and the creation of the GIS application for this project.The project is not yet completed yet.

What does your typical day look like?
I teach, do research.I travel a lot -- every other week I am on the road for research.I mentor students (many of whom are using GIS).

Why is GIS an exciting industry in which to participate?
The technology is interesting, but the potential uses enornmous.Its also exciting because it is not as easy as everyone thinks -- getting a "system" to work (at least in my experience) is very hard -- first of all, figuring out all the data and getting access to the data, then getting all the layers to work; getting the data clean (including the maps and point data); getting an application to work bug free; getting people trained in using it; getting them to see how it can be used in their work...all of this takes a lot of time and effort...the challenges are enornmous; the problems encountered many...in my experience, I have NEVER come across an easy project in creating a GIS capacity within a police agency.

What is the most important "next thing" that will happen in GIS?
Integrating data; and using the data in sophisticated (yet easy to use) ways.At least in policing, there are some exciting new ways to analyze the data...but most are still pretty inaccessible to the regular police officer.

Before you came to GIS, what did you think your career would be?
I am a criminologist and have wanted to be a criminologist since I was 14 years old.GIS is just part of what I do.

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Published Wednesday, November 17th, 1999

Written by Directions Staff



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