If all of your knowledge of crime analysis comes from television, the truth might shock you. Think about the actual function that crime analysts do in law enforcement.
Crime analysts are entrusted with examining patterns of criminal behavior to develop proactive measures for law enforcement that can thwart crimes before they happen. Police agencies can use the data from the strategies to strategically allocate resources and staff by conducting systematic, analytical, and scientific assessments of the relevant evidence.
Crime analysts might collaborate with groups of police investigators to help resolve open cases or stop new crimes. The types of issues could differ. The role of the crime analyst occasionally includes assisting in the search for a missing civilian. In other instances, their work may involve detecting regional drug trafficking tendencies, which can assist detectives in deciding where to focus their efforts to reduce criminal activity.
Tools and Methods
According to UCF professor Will Moreto, law enforcement agencies have historically used their official statistics to assess crime trends and identify temporal and spatial hotspots for strategic and tactical actions. Crime analysts may use computer programs, statistical analysis, and forensic investigation in the course of their work to comprehend criminal patterns better. Crime analysts may also develop perimeter maps and statistics databases to track local criminals or criminal organizations.
For instance, although database applications like CAD are not designed with crime prevention in mind, they can be pretty helpful to analysts wanting to use the data their police agency has amassed to spot criminal tendencies. It is possible to follow crime patterns and trajectories using software like Microsoft Excel. According to Moreto, crime analysts can now gather information and data from well-known social media platforms and combine it with other data to inform criminal investigations. This has been possible more lately with the introduction of social media.
Crime analysts can use Agency Management Systems to coordinate their findings with those of other departments or police units. According to Moreto, “inter-agency data exchange and collaboration have increased, particularly through the usage of fusion centres, which provides more usable data for crime investigation.”