Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Improving Police Analytical Capability

The times are changing for law enforcement. No longer is the old style of street policing being accepted without question by the public. Inflated police budgets that were once never challenged seriously by governing bodies are now being reduced dramatically because a better informed public is able to insist on fiscal accountability. The result is that law enforcement agencies will be forced to deliver a better return on investment.

One of the most effective ways of improving police productivity is by engaging in problem oriented policing, environmental criminology, and situation crime prevention. The police crime analyst is playing an increasingly important role in this effort. Crime analysis as a discipline has evolved (at least in a few progressive departments) beyond just tabulating crimes and producing colorful pie charts for the chief to dazzle the council with at financial planning meetings. It has gone beyond producing pin maps (either using real pins or computer graphics) that show where crimes have occurred. It means providing meaningful, timely operational support to law enforcement field elements.

To assist career crime analysts in improving their skills, the US Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services has produced a manual entitled Crime Analysis for Problem Solvers in 60 Small Steps. Unfortunately, there are very few professionally qualified crime analysts working in the US. This 150-page manual is an effort to increase that number and improve the quality of their work.


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