Technology and Crime

This book is about how crime analysts work and what they need to know in order to provide critical and vital information to police officers. Today, technology is advanced enough to allow crime analysts to process and analyze the data at their disposal and feed essential and critical information to police officers and detectives who are on the street working criminal cases. By drawing on millions of bytes of data and knowing what is critical to pass on to the officers in the field, the analyst in the real-time crime center plays a major role in solving crime, preventing terrorism and other criminal acts, and protecting the safety of both citizens and officers.

As a result, crime analysts now play a powerful and essential role in twenty-first-century policing. But in order to do this job, a crime analyst must be properly trained. The job of the crime analyst is not easy. It takes more than a knowledge of computers to do all that crime analysts are expected to do. Some of the tasks of a crime analyst include

• Reviewing all police reports daily with the goal of identifying patterns.

  • • Analyzing trends, patterns, and hot spots to let both officers and administrators know about emerging crime in their city or in certain districts.
  • • Extracting data from records and asking questions that lead to turning data into useful information.
  • • Creating charts, maps, graphs, tables, and other visual products that communicate and transmit useful information to their police departments and the public.

Perhaps most importantly, the crime analyst has to serve the needs of the police officers in the field for immediate information and data that will enable them to respond effectively to various situations, such as

  • • Routine domestic violence calls
  • • Shots fired calls
  • • Assault, robbery, and burglary-in-progress calls
  • • Active shooter, SWAT, and hostage situations

It is not just a matter of the crime analyst transmitting raw data to officers in the field in these kinds of situations. Instead, these common, but often dangerous situations require a workup from a tactical crime analyst. A workup is a detailed intelligence product focusing on individuals, locations, and many other critical factors that help the responding officer or investigator to be more fully aware of what he or she is likely to encounter. The skilled tactical crime analyst can provide an intelligence-based workup that may include

  • • Photos
  • • Social media posts
  • • Outstanding warrants
  • • Probation or parole GPS monitoring
  • • Gang intelligence, which can involve known associates, arrest history, and prior weapons possession

It is one thing to be able to mine data; it’s quite another to think like an investigative officer and streamline the massive amount of data available to the tactical crime analyst in order to feed only relevant, crucial information to the officer.

The trained and skilled tactical crime analyst will feed viable information to the investigator so that the investigation moves in the right direction, while avoiding overloading the officer with irrelevant data.

And that’s what this book will train you to do. In the chapters of this book, you will be introduced to all aspects of what crime analysts need to know to be successful. You will learn more about understanding criminal behavior, understanding statistics and interpreting crime statistics, conducting temporal analysis of crime patterns, using spatial analysis to better understand crime, applying research methods to crime analysis, evaluating data and information to help predict criminal offending and solve criminal cases (including cold cases), understanding criminal investigations, and using critical thinking.

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