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This Book Is an Introduction to Crime Analysis

This book is about crime analysis, which means there must be a theory about crime that will guide the teaching and the approach to the job of analyzing crime and criminal behavior. At this point, we are not ready to put forth that theory. However, we can introduce you to the analysis triangle. This triangle will be referred to throughout this book, and it will serve as one of the main illustrations that suggests a theory for linking crime and criminal behavior to external factors, and the triangle will be important when discussing the significance of data mining and connecting critical pieces of intelligence together (Figure 1.1).

In this analysis triangle, a theory is implicated in the layers of the triangle. The innermost triangle represents the problem facing the crime analyst. To begin to analyze the problem, the crime analyst evaluates and assesses the criminal offender, along with the place (or location) of the criminal offense and the target or victim of that offense. The outer triangle indicates that there is also a handler, a manager, and a guardian in each offense; each plays a role in the criminal event. Also, each has a set of tools with which they facilitate a criminal offense, prevent a criminal offense, or provide a solution or intelligence regarding a criminal offense.

If you don’t understand this analysis triangle at this juncture, don’t worry about it. As you study this book, its importance in crime analysis will become clearer. However, at this point, it is important to introduce some critical terms and concepts that will be used throughout this book.

Analysis triangle as it relates to criminal behavior

Figure 1.1 Analysis triangle as it relates to criminal behavior.

Definitions of Terms and Concepts

The first term is intelligence. Intelligence is the data available to, collected by, or disseminated through the tactical crime analyst. The tactical crime analyst is the trained analyst whose job it is to analyze crime and criminal events or offenses in order to provide practical intelligence to police officers, the police command, or the public. Intelligence analysis refers to what the tactical crime analyst does in his or her position: continually evaluating and analyzing data in order to provide the most useful possible information to police officers. SARA is a model that was developed by Professor Herman Goldstein at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to enhance the problem-solving approach to policing. SARA is an acronym that stands for scanning, analysis, response, and assessment. This model will be discussed in detail in later chapters. Real-time setting or real-time crime center refers to the location where many tactical crime analysts have their “office.” A real-time crime center is a room in which the tactical crime analyst has at his or her disposal a bank of computers and extensive websites and data banks that allow access to and analysis of intelligence in order to provide practical and useful on-the-spot information to police officers in the field.

 
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