Friday, May 18, 2012

60 Steps Revisited: Step 2 - Be The Local Crime Expert

Back in 2009, I did a series of posts covering the excellent book Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers. The book is published by the US DOJ's Problem Oriented Policing Center (POP Center). Because of the value I think this book has for crime analysts, and policing in general, I am going to re-post this series on here on the blog. 

The next step in the book Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers is Be The Local Crime Expert. If most other police agencies are like mine, there are very few people who get to see the whole picture of crime in your jurisdiction. Day Shift Patrol officers don't get to see what's happening on the Midnight Watch, Property Crimes Detectives don't often investigate Persons crimes and so on. Many times, the only place where all the reports are funneled through is in the Crime Analysis unit. As an analyst you are one of the few in your department with the big picture.
"In short, nobody can see the whole crime picture. But if you became the local crime expert it would help make your department more informed, efficient, and capable of using its resources to reduce crime. It would provide more opportunity to warn citizens, to detect offenders, and to initiate prevention efforts. In short, you could help a lot of people by gathering the right information."
The authors talk about a number of ways you can become "The Local Crime Expert". Many of these ways are sound advice such as:
  • Talk with Officers & Dispatchers, even the midnight crew
  • Ride with Officers on Patrol when you can
  • Visit crime scenes occasionally
  • Communicate with your peers in other agencies
In my opinion the most effective way is to review those offense reports coming in. I try and make it a habit to review the arrests and reports from the previous day every morning. The suggestions above are all good, but some of them can be very time consuming and time is something few analysts have an excess of. There are always more demands on us than we can possibly fulfill. Block off time in your day to skim the reports from the previous day. You'll be surprised what you can discover that way.

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