The Boston Globe had a story about Cambridge, Massachusetts Police using their Crime Analysis Unit to help them direct enforcement activities. The credit this strategy with helping them to reduce crime in Cambridge.
In explaining the declines announced yesterday, Lieutenant Daniel Wagner, who heads the Cambridge Police Crime Analysis Unit, said his unit is able to identify upswings of a particular crime in a specific area or at a certain time.
For example, officers may see a spike in reported pickpocket incidents. By using data analysis, they could determine that most of the crimes occur between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. in a particular square.
Using that information, officials can decide to assign more patrol officers to head off those crimes.
“I’m optimistic that we can continue to reduce crime,’’ Wagner said. “I think that we’re at somewhat of a tipping point in terms of developing more advanced, comprehensive ways to use predictive analytics for crime mapping.’’
No matter the size of your agency, using crime analysis can help your agency to be more efficient at making the community you serve safer. If your agency doesn't have a crime analysis unit or a crime analysis function the International Association of Crime Analysts has a Development Center on their website that can help your agency begin a crime analysis program.
Does your agency have a crime analysis unit? If not, are you planning on starting one?