What Use Does the Tactical Crime Analyst Have for Criminological Theories?

Obviously, if the tactical crime analyst is working in a real-time crime center and a crisis arises, say with the example we used in

Chapter 2 of the gunman who is shooting at passing cars on a freeway or, in another scenario, a bank robbery gone wrong in which a would-be bank robber is trapped in a bank with one or more hostages, it perhaps doesn’t really matter what criminological theory the crime analyst in the real-time crime center subscribes to. His or her job is not to come up with the motivation behind why a gunman is shooting at cars or why a man tried to rob a bank. The task he is presented with is to get facts and intelligence to the officers on the scene so that the gunman can be apprehended without any passing motorists being victimized, or so that the hostage crisis is resolved with no harm to the hostages in the bank or the officers surrounding the bank.

However, it would behoove crime and intelligence analysts to gain a thorough understanding of how and why crime and disorder occur if they are to be involved in the process of intervention and prevention. In fulfilling their role in assisting law enforcement through the analysis of crime and disorder problems, there will be times when a familiarity with criminological theories will be important in addressing a particular crime problem. We suggest that analyzing the reasons why a particular criminal is engaging in a series of offenses may be vital in contributing to law enforcement efforts to solve a crime problem or apprehend an offender.

In the next sections, we review several police strategies created as intervention and prevention efforts to directly address the crime problem. These models and methods can be part of the general knowledge of crime analysts in carrying out their various functions.

The predominant models and methods to address crime problem issues are

  • • The standard model
  • • Community policing
  • • Broken windows
  • • Problem-oriented policing
  • • Intelligence-led policing

Crime and intelligence analysis, including real-time tactical analysis, plays a crucial role in several methods of policing that are intended to address the issues of crime and why it continues to occur. A more detailed discussion of these five models and methods follow.

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