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Importance of a Crime Analysis Unit

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Criminology
Wordcount: 2447 words Published: 3rd Jul 2018

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Crime analysis is not a new concept, as police officers have searched for ways to discover patterns and similarities between incidents for years. Furthermore, crime analysis has become a progressively common component in many police organizations. An increasing number of departments have allocated additional personnel to assume the role of crime analyst. Further, a number of police departments have established special units to perform crime analysis. In general terms, crime analysis deals with the collection and analysis of data relating to a criminal incident, offender, and target. Recently, there has been a shift from reactionary policing to proactive policing. Crime analysis does just that, it addresses the causes of crime and disorder overall preventing criminal activity before it ever occurs. Crime analysis is easily used in conjunction with community policing and problem-oriented policing, as they all have the same goal of preventing criminal activity before it’s too late (Giblin, 2006).

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Analysis stands out amongst the best and most effective tools available to support law enforcement agencies today. Crime analysis is an effective and necessary constituent for both community and problem-oriented policing. Data collection is useless unless it is easily comprehended and relates to a case. The analysis of data not only puts an entire puzzle together, but it reveals what pieces are missing as well. Ultimately, crime analysis arranges information in such a way that it guides its departments towards prosecutorial achievement. Having a crime analysis function could fulfill the analytical needs related to problem-oriented policing. Basically, crime analysis coincides with any agency’s contingency agenda and is an essential asset (Giblin, 2006). This paper is a proposal of guidelines revealing just how critical it is for this department to establish and maintain a Crime Analysis Unit.

Mission, goals and objectives

The mission of this crime analysis unit will be facilitating situational awareness and assisting out police officers with crime reduction efforts. The results of crime analysis will be generated to assist our officers with understanding their jurisdiction’s environment, as well as guide them in implementing specific strategies for crime reduction (Santos, 2012). The goals of this crime analysis unit will be to uncover vital pieces of intelligence from within huge quantities of data and to distribute this information to officers and investigators in the field, overall assisting their efforts in apprehending criminals and eliminating criminal activity. Additionally, analysis of crime is an essential tool when it comes to establishing crime prevention efforts. The cost benefit analysis shows that preventing crime costs less than apprehending, or trying to apprehend, criminals subsequent to the crime occurring (Osborne & Wernicke, 2003). The overall objective of this crime analysis unit is to transform data into actionable intelligence on crime series, patterns, trends, etc. in order to support the department with preventing criminal acts from ensuing for both short and long term problems.

Role of Analysis within the Department

The role of analysis in this department is to assist with the overall intelligence, investigative, and planning activities. The crime analysis unit will analyze crime for a number of reasons. The analysts within the unit will allow this department to benefit from the wealth of information that exists in law enforcement agencies, the criminal justice system, and the public domain. The unit will also analyze crime to make the most of the limited law enforcement resources and to update our officers on general and precise crime trends, patterns, and series in a continuous, timely manner. Further, the crime analysis unit will be able to access crime problems beyond the local jurisdiction to pull from and assist fellow law enforcement agencies. On top of that, the analysts will be proactive in discovering and thwarting crime problems, as well as matching the department’s efforts to the demands of an ever-changing society (Giblin, 2006).

The crime analysis unit will ensure this department incorporates a geographic, spatial, and local focus that stresses the importance of incorporating crime-mapping techniques into departmental management, analysis, and enforcement procedures (Giblin, 2006). The unit will keep officers updated with critical information via crime bulletins, briefings, and a variety of intelligence reports. The analysts will also support officers and investigators in the field by identifying crime problems in their jurisdiction and assisting with short and long term prevention efforts utilizing the SARA model. The analysts will ensure they support the field both tactically and strategically. Although some crime analysis units solely produce crime statistics or only profile criminals, this unit will conduct a wide range of tasks in order to fully support field operations (Osborne & Wernicke, 2003).

The Crime Analysis Unit will also have an advanced and easy to comprehend software program as well. This program will be able to create statistics based off of inputted data, and will feature other tools like crime-mapping and an automated crime trend generator. With this database, even the entry-level analysts will be able to input data and generate basic reports. Analysts will also have knowledge on and be able to operate a geographic information system (Santos, 2012).


A Senior Analyst will be in charge of the crime analysis unit and will be responsible for the everyday actions and products of the crime analysis unit. This position will be held by an experienced analyst with knowledge of all capabilities of the crime analysis unit and will be the link between the leaders in the department and the crime analysts. Below the Senior Analyst will be two specialty analysts, each with their own mission and team of three members. One team will be led by a tactical specialty analyst and the other specialty analyst will be skilled at strategic analysis. Both of these specialty analysts will have knowledge of general analysis techniques as well. The tactical team will focus primarily on present day issues, such as crime patterns and short-term statistics. The strategic team’s objective will be long term analysis, focusing on permanent problems within the community. Although the two teams are split with separate missions, all analysts will have the basic knowledge of all duties of the unit.

The members on each team will consist of two entry-level analysts and one experienced analyst. The entry-level analysts will be responsible for conducting routine crime analysis duties. The experienced analysts on both teams will produce more advanced analysis, to include conducting statistics and research methodologies (Santos, 2012). These analysts will also assist the entry-level analysts and teach them what they know.


There are five generally recognized stages in crime analysis: collection, collation, analysis, dissemination, and feedback. To start the process, the assigned analysts will start collecting data from a variety of sources, such as police reports, field interviews, probation and parole reports, as well as open source data. Analysts will ensure the information is coming from only the department’s jurisdiction, as they don’t need to be analyzing other department’s jurisdictions. This data will be entered into a computer software program which assists the analyst with sorting. Since new data is constantly being generated, our department will choose specific crimes they would like analyzed. The analysts will then organize and place the data into sub-categories under the specified crimes. Once the data is organized, it will be analyzed more thoroughly and turn it into timely, useful, and accurate information for distribution. The analysis procedure will assist in identifying subjects, identifying MOs, recognizing linked cases, and profiling all involved parties. Once the data has been concentrated down into useful information, it is distributed to the crime analysis unit’s customers. Primarily it goes to the patrol officers, investigators, and command staff, but can also be disseminated to media, citizens, other city government employees, and other law enforcement agencies if needed (Osborne & Wernicke, 2003). Since new crimes happen every day, they need to be added to the ongoing collation and incorporated into the bigger picture. When done effectively, this interesting and challenging work allows you, the crime analyst, to help police officers do a better job in making communities safer.


All analysts in the crime analysis unit are preferred to have police knowledge, proficient research abilities, and technological skills. Subsequent to being hired, the analysts will undergo more training than their basic background knowledge.

have training on geographical information systems (GIS), in order for them to generate intelligence products. Crime-mapping, CompStat, profiling, ..

REWORD: The International Association of Crime Analysts has and continues to work to develop standards for crime analysis as a career and its practice. They have developed a national certification process and a handbook that provides basic crime analysis knowledge needed for certification, as well as a certification training series (IACA, 2011). More recently, they have initiated a standards, methods, and technology committee with the purpose of defining analytical methodologies, technologies, and core concepts relevant to the profession of crime analysis (IACA, 2011).

Quarterly and annual training will be conducted using resources from the International Association of Crime Analysts (IACA) and from the International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts (IALEIA) (Ratcliffe, 2004).

Expected products

Tactical crime analysis deals with the examination of recent criminal incidents and probable criminal activity through various methods (Santos, 2012). This type of analysis involves looking at data to produce intelligence on the where, when, and how of the crimes in order to aid field officers in pinpointing and interpreting certain, pressing crime problems. The objective of tactical crime analysis is to initiate a quick response to crime problems occurring in the present. The role of the crime analysts under the tactical team will be to identify current patterns of crime activities and forecast potential future crimes. The unit’s tactical analysts will distribute information using a format known as pattern bulletin and include details such as suspect profiles, victim profiles, modus operandi (MO) factors, area type, day/time favored by the subject, and other elements that will assist in identifying the subject (Osborne & Wernicke, 2003). The analysts will also provide products such as time series charts, crime pattern bulletins, and BOLOs (Santos, 2012).

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Strategic crime analysis involves long-range issues and arranging for long-term plans. The two main goals of strategic crime analysis are to aid in the identification and examination of long-term issue and to assess responses to issues as well as organizational measures (Santos, 2012). The analysts on the strategic team will observe long-term crime trends. The analysts will utilize different types of products to provide information to a variety of people, from command staff to field officers, as well as the community to put out this information. These reports will provide information on the ongoing deviation in certain crime categories, victim categories, target locations, or other crime elements of interest (Osborne & Wernicke, 2003). The products of strategic crime analysis come in the form of memos, quarterly reports and maps, yearly reports, special reports, and research, evaluation, and problem reports (Santos, 2012). Because strategic analysis deals more with long term analysis, the reports will be pushed out over longer periods of time compared to tactical analysis reports.

Along with tactical and strategic analysis, the crime analysis unit will also be able to conduct administrative crime analysis. Administrative crime analysis delivers a variety of services such as summary data, statistics, and general trend intelligence to the department. These products will assist administrators when they assign community resources and/or aid in relating pertinent information to citizens on crime and disorder issues (Osborne & Wernicke, 2003).

Conclusion: Most agencies are transitioning to a tactical and strategic crime analysis focus, dedicated to helping patrol officers and investigators apprehend criminals as well as assisting in problem-oriented and community policing efforts.


Giblin, M. J. (2006). Structural elaboration and institutional isomorphism: The case of crime analysis units. Policing, 29(4), 643-664. doi:13639510610711583

International Association of Crime Analysts (IACA). 2011. Professional training series. Retrieved from http://www.iaca.net/training.asp

Osborne, D., & Wernicke, S. (2003;2013;). Introduction to crime analysis: Basic resources for criminal justice practice (illustrat ed.). GB: Routledge Ltd. doi:10.4324/9780203463284

Ratcliffe, J. H. (2004). Crime mapping and the training needs of law enforcement. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, 10(1), 65-83. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy2.apus.edu/docview/222839188?accountid=8289

Santos, R. B. 2012. Crime Analysis with Crime Mapping, 3rd Edition. Retrieved from https://online.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781483302270/


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