The was a story this weekend in the Spokane, WA area news outlet The Spokesman Review that looked at an announcement from Spokane Police about changes they were making to focus on property crimes in their city. According to the piece, these changes came after concern from the community after SPD laid off property crimes detectives and a reduction in the number of property crimes that were being investigated by police.
The story had a number of changes that SPD was making but one I think is worth noting in the story is this one:
The hiring of a crime analyst to better coordinate with patrol officers and investigators and increase efficiency.
The article also stated that Spokane PD is implementing a "data-driven method for fighting property crime" to focus their enforcement efforts.
A crime analyst can help a police agency use their limited resources more effectively by helping to the agency to understand crime problems facing their community and to develop the most effective strategy to deal with them.
For some agencies, hiring a crime analyst outright may not be an option due to budget issues. However, it may be possible to develop a crime analysis function in-house by training someone in an existing position or to job share an analyst with other agencies.
Investing in a crime analysis function is money well spent.