In-house research, field research, and data analysis will generally lead to a final report and recommendations to the police department command. When the hypotheses have been proposed and tested, and a
Figure 13.1 SARA problem-solving process.
plan for amelioration of the crime trend or crime problem has been decided, there must be a report to the police department’s command so that action can be considered.
But, what kind of report should be written, and how should both the data and the recommended solution be presented?
According to Christopher W. Bruce, an International Association of Crime Analyst certified crime analyst, there are basically two kinds of reports that come from strategic crime analysts. One is publications that track and describe trends; the other is publications that analyze crime problems (Bruce, 2008).
The publications that track and describe trends include periodic statistical reports that might be issued on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. These periodic reports typically show increases and decreases in crime, and ideally analyze the most important changes (Bruce, 2008). On the other hand, reports that analyze problems usually combine police data with primary data collected by the analyst to explore the underlying causes and recommended solutions of long-term crime problems or crime trends. These, in fact, might be called “strategic analysis reports” or “problem analyses” (Bruce, 2008). In general, these strategic analysis reports aim to assist long-term planning and direct problem-solving efforts. Thus, they are written not for the general public, but with the higher-level police administrators in mind.
The following is a sampling of the kinds of reports strategic crime analysts might write:
- • Identifying problems report: This report details information related to the systematic identification of long-term problems, such as the locations of problem areas, specific offenders known to be suspects in crime problems or crime trends, victims of crime problems, and property involved in crime trends or problems. It could be a list of the top addresses, streets, areas, offenders, victims, or products by either the number of calls or percent of calls for service or crime over at least a one-year period.
- • Identifying problems or 80/20 analysis report: This report is an extended analysis that might be a follow-up to an identifying problems report. In addition to frequency and percent of crime at certain locations or on certain streets, an 80/20 analysis could include computation of the cumulative percentage of crime, as well as the unit of analysis (e.g., addresses and areas) to determine the cumulative percentage of repeat offenses, as well as the cumulative percentage of repeat targets.
- • Problem location analysis guidelines: This report contains guidelines for different types of analysis products that are relevant in an in-depth analysis of a problem location. Using citizengenerated calls for service data for at least a 12-month period, the crime analyst can report on the frequency and percent of types of calls at the location, the frequency of calls by month, the time of day and day of week analysis for all calls, the time of day and day of week for selected calls, and the frequency and percent of dispositions of the calls. These statistics can be displayed in various kinds of charts or graphs for easy interpretation. In addition, this kind of report could also analyze police officer-generated calls for service for at least a 12-month period. The report could display the frequency and percent of types of calls at the location, the frequency of calls by month, the time of day and day of week analysis for all calls, and the frequency and percent of disposition of the calls. Finally, this report can provide crime report and arrest data at the location for at least a 12-month period. The report might well include the frequency and percent of crime types; the frequency of crime by month; the frequency and percent of arrest types; the frequency of arrests by month; the arrests by age, sex, and race; and the report of any crime patterns at specific locations.
- • Compound problem report: This report gives information and recommendations about the highest-level problems that strategic crime analysts face. These are crime problems or crime trends that encompass various locations, offenders, and victims and, in many instances, exist throughout an entire jurisdiction. The analyst may end with a recommendation for a tailored crime prevention response for the agency in order to achieve a reduction in the problem.
- • Three-year crime or disorder trend chart: This report evaluates the success of crime reduction strategies overall, as well as helps to identify emerging long-term problems. A three-year crime trend chart may include a line chart that depicts the frequency of a specific type of crime or disorder by month for three years, as well as a trend line for the entire time period.
- • Three-year seasonal crime or disorder trend chart: This report identifies trends of seasonally reoccurring problems. It could be a line chart that displays the frequency of a specific type of crime or disorder by month, comparing each month with the same month in the previous two years.
- • Comparison crime trend chart: This report shows the success of crime reduction strategies overall, as well as helps to identify emerging long-term problems by comparing the jurisdiction’s crime rate with that of other entities. The other entities could be other jurisdictions, cities, or states. Often a line chart, this report compares monthly or yearly rates (by population) of specific crime types or disorders of the analyst’s jurisdiction with those in other similar jurisdictions, the state, or the nation.
- • Change in crime or disorder density map: This report is a density map that compares two periods of time (baseline time period and target time period) and displays areas where the selected crime or disorder has increased or decreased. This report could also use other kinds of maps, such as a graduated area map (a map that consists of aggregated data displayed in groupings with visual variables used to denote specific data). These groupings can be graduated by size or by color, and graduated maps could be created separately for each type of crime or disorder addressed in the agency’s goals or by geographic area.