Elizabeth Groff has a Ph.D. in Geography (2006) and an MA (2005) in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland, College Park and a BS (1992) and MA (1994) in Geography from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. As you might imagine Elizabeth is no stranger to applied research. In fact she has spent the last twenty years applying geographic theory and methodology to the study of crime-related issues at both the local and national levels.
At the local level, she institutionalized the use of geographic information systems (GIS) at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. At the national level, Dr. Groff ran the NIJ Crime Mapping Research Center from 2001-02 where she promoted the analytic use of mapping in criminal justice agencies. For the next five years she was a Senior Research Associate at the non-profit criminal justice research firm, Institute for Law and Justice where she conducted a variety of research initiatives including the development of an agent-based simulation model of robbery, the application of mobility triangles to understanding homicide, and an evaluation of efficiency, effectiveness, and enabling impacts of COPS MORE funding.
As an early innovator in the use of GIS within law enforcement agencies, she has focused on developing evidence to improve police practice. Groff?s research has revealed which type of map communicates crime information without increasing fear (Groff, Kearley, Beatty, Couture, & Wartell, 2005), the efficacy of foot patrol for reducing violent crime if deployed at small, high crime places in sufficient strength (Ratcliffe, Taniguchi, Groff, & Wood, 2011), and that commanders are able to increase patrol at hot spots when they are provided with reports documenting the level of patrol achieved (Weisburd, Groff, Jones, Amendola and Cave, 2012). These important findings have natural implications for police practice and policy.