Crime analysis is a process by which data from numerous sources is examined and turned into useful and actionable information that a police department can use not only to reduce, prevent, and solve crime, but also to tackle disorder and quality of life issues. The Crime Analyst examines the criminal and quality of life issues, identifies potential patterns, trends and problems and then analyzes these patterns, trends and problems. Information is then disseminated to the department to develop tactics and strategies to address these problems. Not only is information pertinent to tactical operations, but also helps the department to develop long-term strategies as well as assess infrastructure needs (money, personnel shifts, etc) to adjust as necessary. Sharing information is crucial to the Crime Analyst’s position. Obtaining and disseminating information inside and outside the department is done on a daily basis. Other job responsibilities include but are not limited to the use of a variety of statistical techniques, data querying and aggregation methods, crime mapping, and qualitative research methods to turn this raw data into information that the police department can use. Such information might include reports on current crime patterns, trends, and hot spots, intelligence about individuals and organizations involved in criminal activity, crime forecasts and predictions. The Crime Analyst is a part of larger professional organizations such as the Massachusetts Association of Crime Analysts (MACA) and the International Association of Crime Analysts (IACA) .
A portion of the Crime Analyst’s responsibilities include gathering, analyzing and disseminating the COMPSTAT report. COMPSTAT stands for Computer Driven Crime Statistics. It was started in 1994 by NYPD Chief William Bratton to manage police operations by institutionalizing accountability and analysis processes. These processes are broken down into four important parts: (1) Accurate and Timely Intelligence (2) Effective Tactics, (3) Rapid Deployment, and (4) Relentless Follow-up and Assessment. By knowing what is happening within the city, the department is able to come up with a plan to deploy resources to a particular area to attack the target before it moves. Follow-up is then conducted to see if the department’s strategy was effective and if so, the strategy will continue; if not, the strategy may shift or change to combat the issue.
The Crime Analyst encourages the public to be aware of their surroundings and know what is going on in your community. One way to do this is to visit the department’s public crime mapping website at by clicking here, copying and pasting it or typing it into your web browser.
“The heart and soul of any department’s success in its principal obligation of crime control is first rate crime analysis—a field of endeavor that has been growing in leaps and bounds, thankfully, but unfortunately is still not funded adequately in most agencies’ budgets. Chiefs need to understand just how essential this area is to successful crime control.” -Chief William Bratton, Los Angeles PD (Ret.)