Working the Collected Data Using Data Sets

Most often, in order to properly use data, the crime analyst or intelligence analyst will need to access data from a variety of sources. Too often, data stored in RMS or CAD were not created to suit the needs of crime analysis. Therefore, data sets must be used to begin an analysis. The primary data sources for the crime analysis will come from RMS, CAD, and ArcGIS. And the most commonly sought data include incident reports, arrest records, calls for service, and accident reports. The intelligence analyst must be able to connect to the database when he or she needs the information.


This chapter has addressed the basic question related to what we know about crime. In the chapter, we discussed the processes of crime collection, how crime is measured, and the utilization of statistics in order to learn more about crime and examine crime patterns.The highway shooter investigation mentioned at the beginning of the chapter is an excellent example of how the processes that involve the organizing, collecting, and disseminating of information proved to be relevant—as all of these processes played a critical role in the investigation.

The intelligence and statistical information used during the GIS process also played a predominant role in the CompStat meetings that were held during the time span in which the crimes were being committed and investigated.

The highway shooter case also involved a complex procedure of crime analysis that relied heavily on the aid of technology'. As a result, the analysis supplied to the investigators included the total understanding of a wide range of computer systems and programs, combined with the criminal investigative thought process—a process that will be discussed in detail in later chapters. The overall process of analysis was crucial in order to effectively disseminate the raw data that were extrapolated from the various systems in order to come up with a theory that could be used to create a workable, strategic, tactical plan.

Investigations that deal with immediate public safety concerns, such as the highway shooter case, usually involve a large volume of intelligence that has to be analyzed at a rapid pace. Although the highway shooter was not identified in that investigation, the investigative team, which was composed of several police agencies, utilized crime and tactical analysis as a means to stay on pace with the investigation while keeping the flow of information fluid between agencies.

Questions for Discussion

  • 1 Since both the UCR Program and the NCVS demonstrate that crime, more often than not, has been declining since 1993, what is the reason for this great crime decline?
  • 2 Are we as a society becoming less violent? Why or why not?
  • 3 What is the future of statistics in law enforcement?

Important Terms

ArcGIS: Geographical information systems software program developed by ESRI, a California-based company that has been specializing in GIS since 1969. ArcGIS gives the crime analyst the ability to take data from CAD or RMS, give it a geographic location, and put it on a map.

Bureau of Justice Statistics: The BJS was established in 1979 under the Justice Systems Improvement Act of 1979, an amendment to the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968.The mission of the BJS is to collect, analyze, publish, and disseminate information on crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the operation of justice systems at all levels of government.

CAD: Computer-Aided Dispatch; system maintained by the agency responsible for 911 dispatching. CAD captures and stores several vital pieces of information for future police use.

CompStat: Accountability and management system used by many police departments to determine the hot spots of crime, to deploy personnel more effectively, and develop effective crime control strategies.

Crime rate: The UCR Programs crime rate reports the number of crimes for every 100,000 people in the population.

Dark figures of crime: Self-report surveys are a way to learn more about the dark figures of crime—the individuals that don’t show up in official statistics.

National Crime Statistics Exchange (NCS-X): Program designed to generate nationally representative incident-based data on crimes reported to law enforcement agencies. It involves the FBI recruiting a sample of 400 law enforcement agencies to supplement the existing NIBRS data by providing their incident data to their state (or the federal) NIBRS data collection program.

National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS): Conducted annually since 1972 by the Bureau of the Census and the U.S. Department of Justice, this random survey focuses on the victims of crime.

National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS): Under NIBRS, participating law enforcement authorities provide offense and arrest data to the FBI on 22 broad categories of crime covering 46 offenses, while providing only arrest information on 11 other offenses. This reporting system may replace the UCR Program in the future.

RMS: Records Management System; system that allows the collection and storage of relevant police data for future use.

Self-report data: Data collected from individuals who are asked to reveal information about themselves and their offenses.

Uniform Crime Reports (UCR): Collection of crime statistics from more than 18,000 state and federal law enforcement agencies, compiled by the FBI into an annual report.

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