Crime analysis is a systematic process whose aim is to provide timely information about trends and patterns in crime. Law enforcers use the resultant information in many areas such as to solve crime, apprehend offenders and in planning for police resources. Police law enforcers employ different analytical techniques in this process.
There are also three main approaches to crime analysis. These are tactical, strategic and administrative analysis. This paper seeks to differentiate them whilst providing appropriate examples of work products from the International Association of Crime Analysts.
Tactical Crime Analysis
This involves the day to day identification and analysis of crimes by operational employees. It involves trend and series analysis in order to provide information that will help in combating current and emergent crime. The goals of tactical analysis are to recognize crime trends and to develop the best suited strategies to address them. Hot spots are also identified. The offender is linked to the offense by their mode of operation.
This helps agencies to solve day to day crimes. Another aim of tactical information is to promote quick response by the police. This is because it enables them to know roughly what to expect. According to Baker (2004, this is very critical in any case in a court of law. The work product chosen for this type of crime analysis is the Brown Mask Bandit Series 211 of North San Diego County. This information includes a summary of all the similar robberies, plus when and how were committed. Eight similar robberies have occurred between 5th May and 26th June.
All the robberies were at markets in the county. The robber always wore a mask and wields a black or silver hand gun. After stealing the cash, he puts it in a backpack and walks away. On one occasion, he was spotted entering a certain vehicle. Three of the robberies happened on Mondays between 5pm and 8pm.
Two others occurred on Wednesday and only one on a weekend, Sunday (Dr Bobba, 2008). There is a map provided for the locations of the robberies. Data mining and trend analysis could be used to establish whether there is any pattern. The agency could also check whether there was some similar activity happening at the times of the robberies.
The suspect car could be sought and the owners questioned as noted by Gottlieb (1994). However, the number plate may have been changed or the car reported as stolen. In that case, that lead would be a dead end. However, if a trend is established and the next likely strike identified, the traders could be alerted and the police kept on patrol. This way, the robber could be captured (Analysts, Massachussets Association of Crime, 2008).
Strategic Crime Analysis
This is more long term than Tactical Analysis. It seeks to solve ongoing problems ranging between a month and a decade. Unusual trends of increase or decrease in crime at certain points in time is observed and recorded.
Crime levels can increase or decrease over a certain period due to a particular cause. This cause is what strategic analysis seeks to establish. Statistics are used to study these trends. Resource allocation is also done using this type of analysis. Police patrols are stationed according to the demand for their services.
Strategic analysis seeks solutions to existing problems. It also aids in community policing. The Albany Police Department monthly brief has been chosen as the example for this type of analysis.
It is a perfect example of a work product for strategic analysis. The report contains a map which indicates the areas covered by the department and their crime incidence. This can aid in efficient and effective allocation of resources. The areas marked in black and red would need more patrol cars than those marked in white or yellow. The calls for the service have decreased slightly as compared to last month. However, the average number of cases remained constant at 80.
Juvenile arrests have doubled from the previous month. This is a matter of great concern and the department would inquire more into the cause (Baker, 2004). Adult arrests have decreased slightly. There may have been increased job opportunities which in turn reduced the incidences of adult involvement in crime.
The city ordinance on the other hand increased from 5 to 7. However, this was still half of last year’s figure, which indicates that this may not be a cause of alarm. These issues can be addressed by creating an environment where committing crime is less desirable.
Administrative Crime Analysis
This type focuses on provision of management information. Data is summarized and the trends are more generalized than in tactical or strategic analysis. Economic and geographic information is also provided.
Administrative analysis is not focused on solving any current or recurrent problems but rather it is important for long term planning. It also provides the information that is communicated to the public regarding crime. These reports must therefore be in a format that is easy to understand and comprehensive. Reports to the city council and presentations to support grant applications fall into this category.
However, many traditional analysts consider this as the least important type of crime analysis. Nevertheless, a large percentage of all employed analysts perform this role. This indicates that administrative analysis is not a useless field (Gottlieb, Arenberg, & Singh, 1994). The maps in the charts for the Ontario Death Investigation are a good example of administrative analysis.
They were prepared as evidence for a jury trial according to Gottlieb (1994). The charts on the IACA website could not be clearly read as they were a lower resolution of the original charts. However, they indicate six different areas in the Edward Greene death investigation. These charts aided in the understanding of the situation.
Thus, the jury’s decision was easier (Train, 2010).
The three types of crime analysis are useful for different purposes but often work together to help the police to combat crime. This field is advancing daily and new categories are being added to the three. Operations analysis and intelligence analysis are among the new categories. All these methods involve a similar process that leads to the conversion of data to information. This information when communicated to the relevant parties becomes knowledge. The process involves the collection of data, scanning and querying, data analysis and information dissemination. Technology is changing how Crime Analysts do their jobs.
Many processes have been automated. Statistical analysis is aided by database software. This enables the officers to discover new trends using data mining techniques. In conclusion, each analyst has the capability to chart the course of the field of crime analysis (International Association of Crime Analysts, 2009).
Analysts, Massachussets Association of Crime. (2008, May 16). Introduction to Crime Analysis. Retrieved February 5, 2011, from Massachussets Institute of Crime Analysts: http://www.
crim.umontreal.ca/cours/cri3013/osborne.pdf Baker, T. E. (2004).
Introductory Criminal Analysis: Crime Prevention and Intervention Strategies. London: Prentice Hall. Dr Bobba, R. (2008). Crime Analysis With Crime Mapping. Chicago: Sage Publications. Gottlieb, S. L.
, Arenberg, S., & Singh, R. (1994). Crime Analysis : From First Report to Final Arrest. Montclair: Alpha Publishing. International Association of Crime Analysts. (2009, June 5).
Work Samples. Retrieved February 5, 2011, from International Association of Crime Analysts: http://www.iaca.net/DevCtr_Products.asp Train, A. C. (2010).
True stories of crime from the District attorney’s office. New Delhi: Nabu Press.