Police Operations Crime Analysis

b Focus of police operations analysis

c Differences from other types of crime analysis

2 What police operations analysts do

a Data analyzed

b Audience for police operations analysts’ reports

c Reports produced

3 Police operations analysis and its methods

a Analyzing police data

b Qualitative methods

4 Police operations analysis reporting

a Types of reports

b Examples of reports and recommendations

5 Conclusion

a End result of police operations analysis

Learning Objectives for Chapter 16

  • 1 Understand police operations analysis
  • 2 Be able to differentiate police operations analysis from other types of crime analysis
  • 3 Learn about the various data analyzed in operations analysis
  • 4 Know the audience for police operations analysis reports

As a result of financial uncertainty and the increased costs to conduct the police operations, the members of the Stockton, California, governing body authorized the interim city manager to conduct a data and staffing analysis of the police department. The goal was to seek realistic recommendations on how to reduce the cost of police services with the minimum effect possible on service levels and delivery expectatio ns. ICMA reviewed the municipal operations, analyzing staffing and deployment needs on the basis of workload and service level expectations as well as geographic demands. We have identified numerous opportunities to improve departmental operations, which we detail in this report. However, the most serious issue we found had to do with the work schedule currently in use. This schedule wastes significant amounts of officer time due to overlapping shifts. The problem is acute on Wednesdays, when the entire police department works. The use of two officer cars further depletes the available resources of the agency. These two issues place great strain on the department’s ability to respond to calls for service in a timely fashion. We also identified that the department is over-specialized. When the department was operating at higher levels of manpower, specialization was the appropriate manner in which to perform tasks. As the personnel levels were cut, this specialization began interfering with the ability to provide core services. De-specialization is now warranted and, wherever possible, units should be collapsed and responsibilities consolidated to take a more generalist approach to delivering services.

ICMA recognizes that the department is currently experiencing an extraordinary amount of pressure due to unprecedented fiscal demands. Notwithstanding these demands, we believe that effective law enforcement sendees can be provided to the City of Stockton with thoughtful realignment and reorganization of the department and a revised patrol deployment plan based on demand for those sendees.

(ICMA. 2010, n.p.)


Police operations analysis describes the study of a police departments policies and practices—including its allocation of personnel, money, equipment, and other resources, geographically, organizationally, and temporally—and whether these operations and policies have the most effective influence on crime and disorder in the jurisdiction. Operations analysis is often defined as the analysis of police operations, including workload distribution by area and shift (IACA.2014).

By defining operations analysis as concerning itself with a police department’s policies and practices, it is relatively easy to see how this type of crime analysis differs from the other types of crime analysis that have been discussed in this book: tactical crime analysis, strategic crime analysis, and administrative crime analysis. However, operations analysis goes hand in hand with strategic crime analysis, as many operations decisions (including geographic and temporal allocation of officers) are based on long-term crime trends.

Because many operations analysis tasks require good evaluative research, analysts who engage in it should have a solid understanding of social science research methods (Bruce, 2008). Some questions that operations analysis might seek to answer are:

  • • What is the best way for the police agency to divide the city into beats?
  • • What is the optimal allocation of officers per shift?
  • • What effect has the department’s mandatory arrest policy for misdemeanor domestic assault had on domestic violence recidivism?
  • • Can the agency justify a request for more police officers?
  • • How much time and money would the department save if it enacted a policy that limited its response to unverified burglar alarms (Bruce, 2008)?
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