Overview of Crime Analysis

Purdue University Global


In order to understand what crime analysis is and how it is useful to law enforcement, one must first gain an understanding of the types of crime analysis that is utilized. There are three types of crime analysis and each one serves an important function to the field of criminal justice, albeit each one is meant for specific areas and types of criminal justice. In order to gain this understanding of crime analysis and the functions of each type of analysis, it is my purpose with this paper to explain in detail each one, while also citing examples of each in action.

As stated in the above paragraph, there are three types of crime analysis that the field of criminal justice utilizes: These types of analysis are administrative, tactical and strategic. Each of these types are utilized for a specific purpose within the field of criminal justice.

Let us start with the administrative level of crime analysis. This type of analysis is utilized when the information needed is to be shared with those in administrative levels. Examples of this type of analysis could include; Writing up grant proposals, feasibility studies, research projects, and informing those in the department, and others, of the types of crime that are prevalent .

The purpose of administrative analysis is to help with the administrative needs of a given agency. This type of analysis deals with the internal operations of a police agency, analyzing the operations of that agency in order to determine the effectiveness of that agency with regards to fighting crime, their behaviors, encouraging accountability, and providing advice to administrators with regards to community interactions .

Tactical crime analysis is utilized to analyze crime data, such as robberies, and to help to implement short-term measures to help prevent such crimes from occurring. The analyst can look at the data presented, analyze the conditions that possibly encouraged such behaviors, and suggest measures to help counter the crimes, such as implementing increased police presence and increasing the number of streetlights in that particular area .

The purpose of tactical analysis is to look at gathered data, analyze it to determine patterns of repeat events, and to suggest short-term measures that are aimed towards fighting the crime. Analysts are concerned with repeat incidents, modus operandi, the geographical areas, the offender and the victim in order to link crimes .

Strategic analysis is meant for the long-term, either long-term goals or that of crimes that have occurred in the long-term, i.e. a year or more. Strategic analysis analyzes the data of crime trends in order to prepare crime trend statistical summaries, otherwise known as exception reports, which details exceptions to the normal behaviors .

The purpose of this type of analysis is that it analyzes not just data that is available in police databases, like tactical analysis, but that it includes the analyzation of data from sources such as census reports, geographical zoning data, and city data. The goal of this analysis is to identify crime trends and patterns in the long-term, understand how and why it is happening, and to come up with solutions that will help the law enforcement to implement in the long-term fight against crime .

Now, having given brief overviews of each type of analysis, their purpose, their goals, and how they work, I will not continue on with this report. I will not include 3 examples of work products, one for each of the analysis types, and discuss how they fit with the chosen analysis. I will give brief details of each example in order to highlight how I reached my conclusions.

As I started this report with administrative analysis, I will continue in that vein with the example that I have chosen to illustrate their type of analysis. The article that I have chosen to discuss is that of a local crime report that was generated in response to thefts over a two-year period involving GPS devices. This report highlights the fact that this is not simply a local jurisdiction problem, but that it is also a problem on the national level. The report discussed the fact that between the years 2007 to 2008 there was a distinct rise in the theft of GPS devices from vehicles across the country .

This article fits into the administrative level as it is informing those in charge of the drastic increases in the theft of GPS from vehicles across the country, as well as local jurisdiction. Given the content and word usage within the article, it is probable that the report was generated to inform more than the local jurisdiction of this specific problem. There is also a reason given for the increased thefts of these devices during the time period stated, of which one of the reasons given was that of ease of concealment.

The next article that I have chosen fits into the category of tactical analysis. The report, which is a bulletin that is informing law enforcement of a series of crimes that were committed by the same individual of a short-term limit, that of approximately 1 month and 2 weeks. This report includes a list of locations that were impacted, a description of the individual committing the robberies, description of the getaway vehicles, as well as those who were accessories to the robberies .

The reason that I chose this report for tactical analysis is that the crimes committed were done in a spree over a short amount of time. The analysis that was done identified the same suspect for each one, thus linking the crimes together over that time period. Once the suspect had been linked to multiple crimes, a general description has been given in the hope of helping police to identify and apprehend the suspect(s).

The last article that I have chosen fits into the strategic analysis category. This article, which is written to inform law enforcement of the Albany area, highlights crimes that are occurring not only during the month, but also trends across a year long period. This report analyzes and highlights the differences in trends such as violent crime for the given month, the month previous, as well as the year before, thus making this a long-term report. As the reader can track the trends over the given year, this shows the increases and decreases of the listed crimes for that jurisdiction .

The reason that I have chosen this article to showcase strategic analysis in action is because of the long-term trends discussed within the report. This report is meant to inform the agency of the crimes, their increases and decreases in the areas, and to show the department of the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of the agency in preventing such crimes.

As can be seen from each example, each type of analysis is meant to inform and help to implement certain types of responses, be it short-term or long-term, or even if it is meant to smooth the way between law enforcement and the community. Each example provided gives an overview of the problem areas, informing the reader of problems therein, and helping the intended audience to get an overview of what is and/or has happened. It is important to notice the distinctions between each type of analysis, but there are times when the purpose of the report can overlap with another type of analysis, such as was the case with the example I provided for the administrative analysis, which could have easily fit into the category of strategic analysis, as well, due to the content and longevity of the report.