Crime Analysis and Its Uses in Crime Prevention

Just as law enforcement equipment is essential in the day-to-day duties of any law enforcement personnel, so is crime analysis an essential element for law enforcement departments in crime prevention.cybercrimeV2Oct32012

Crime analysis can be defined as a law enforcement function that involves systematic analysis for identifying and analyzing patterns and trends in crime and disorder. It is used to devise solutions to crime problems and to help formulate crime prevention strategies.

It can occur at a variety of different levels such as strategic, operational, and tactical. Crime analysts use a variety of reports including crime reports, arrest reports, and calls for service, and they study them in order to find series, patterns, or trends and sometimes are able to forecast future occurrences by analyzing the data collected. One of the primary goals in law enforcement is to prevent crime. Some of the goals of crime analysis are to apprehend criminals, prevent crime, reduce disorder, and evaluate organizational procedures.

There are five main types which include intelligence analysis, criminal investigative analysis, tactical crime analysis, strategic crime analysis, and administrative crime analysis.

Intelligence analysis can be described as the study of organized criminal activity and is used in assisting sworn personnel in the identification of networks and apprehension of individuals to subsequently prevent criminal activities. The second type, criminal investigative analysis, also known as profiling, is the process of studying serial criminals, victims, and/or crime scenes as well as physical, socio-demographic, psychological, and geographic characteristics to develop patterns that will assist in linking together and solving current serial criminal activity.

Another type of analysis is tactical crime analysis which focuses on information from recent crimes reported to the police and examines characteristics such as how, when, and where the activity has occurred. Strategic analysis on the other hand consists primarily of quantitative analysis of aggregate data. It focuses on crime and law enforcement information integrated with socio-demographic and spatial factors to determine long term “patterns” of activity. The final type of analysis is administrative crime analysis. It differs from the previous ones in that it refers to presentation of findings rather than to statistical analysis or research. The primary focus of administrative crime analysis is deciding what and how to present the information that was found.

As it has developed over the years analysis now relies heavily on computer technology. There are three main types of data collection and storage systems used to obtain the data needed for crime analysis which include computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems, records management systems (RMS), and geographic data systems.

The CAD system is a highly specialized system which uses telecommunications and geographic display in order to support police dispatch and response functions. On the other hand, a records management system is a data entry and storage system designed especially for police records. Its purpose is to keep track of all relevant data within the police agency and it can include separate databases such as crime reports, arrest reports, information of persons, property and evidence information, vehicle information, accident reports, field information, calls for service, and investigations. The final type of system for data collection is the geographic data system which creates, maintains, and stores geographic data.

In summary, crime analysis is used to find information that is meaningful in large amounts of data and publicize this information to officers and investigators to help assist in their efforts to apprehend criminals and stop criminal activity from occurring. Assessing crime through analysis aids the efforts of crime prevention in a great way.

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