V Crime Analysis and the Future

Crime Analysis and the Future of Policing


1 Brief recap of book

a Areas we have covered

b Importance of crime analysis

2 Becoming a crime analyst

a Education

b Training

c Employment opportunities

3 Crime analysis in the future

a Need for trained analysts

b Integration of crime analysis into policing

c Future of technology'

d Real-time crime centers

e Future of policing

4 Concluding remarks about crime analysis

Learning Objectives for Chapter 17

  • 1 Understand the requirements for crime analysts
  • 2 Gain a better understanding of the future of crime analysis
  • 3 Be knowledgeable about the future of policing

Police departments have increased their investments in technology and the results are beginning to show. Robert Davis, director of research at the Police Executive Research Forum, said officers are becoming more professional in how they operate and that includes how they apply technology. “They are getting better at procuring technology that can deliver capabilities they didn’t have before,” he said.

(Newcombe, 2014, p. 1)

So what does the 2008 mapping of the entire human genome have to do with law enforcement? Well, for one, the technology is now available to code the DNA from a cigarette butt and use the profile to compose a computerized three-dimensional image of the donor’s face. Couple that with the steadily advancing facial recognition programs, and you could have a suspect identified with very little effort. Gone are the days of combing a file drawer full of photo mug shots

(Clark, 2013, p. 1)

Predictive technologies are being used to support police operations ... Although some of the methods are promising and describe the current state of [the] field, they are still more academic than practical

(Perry, Mclnnes, Price, Hollywood, and Smith, 2013, p. xiv)


This book has been about the past—and the future—of American policing. In many ways, the future of policing is here today. In other ways, we can only imagine at this point what we will have the capacity to do in the future. But what we do know is that crime fighting and policing are rapidly changing and discovering new and innovative ways to make communities safer while being better able to predict crime, respond to emergency situations, and make the lives of criminal offenders more perilous.

We have written at various points in this book that routine activities theory and environmental approaches to crime prevention pay dividends in terms of preventing crime—rather than investing time and resources in crime detection and apprehension of offenders.

As you will recall, routine activities theory holds that crime takes place when a motivated offender and a suitable target coincide in time and space with the absence of a committed guardian.Traditional policing pays attention to the offender, apprehending him or her and trying to make sure the offender gets his or her comeuppance. And the traditional thinking is that if you put away enough criminals, then the supply of motivated offenders will be reduced and crime will go down.

A great theory—however, there are two problems with this traditional policing approach. One is that the police, in general, have a pretty dismal rate of solving crimes; it ranges from about 14% for motor vehicle thefts to 48% for violent crimes (FBI, 2014). The second problem is that by locking up more people than any other country, the United States hasn’t, it seems, run out of motivated offenders.Therefore, we need another approach.

Routine activities theory and other environmental approaches hold out greater promise for the future. And that’s where crime analysis can play a role in our society. Crime analysts can detect crime problems, crime patterns, and hot spots of crime, and make recommendations that lead toward solutions to problems—instead of trying to view every crime as an isolated event that requires the detection, solution, and (if things go extremely well) arrest, and (it is hoped, eventually) conviction of one criminal offender.

Crime analysts with their technology have a much better chance of reducing crime and crime rates than do patrol officers and detectives. And that’s what this book has tried to emphasize. By introducing you to the technology, methods, and goals of different types of crime analysis, we hope that we can influence students to become acquainted with crime analysis, find it fascinating, and go on to further training, with the end goal of becoming a crime analyst in a police department. There, we believe, you can become an integral member of both a unit and the department in order to serve as a beacon for what the future of policing is all about.

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