Thursday, May 31, 2012

60 Steps Revisited: Step 7 - Be guided by SARA, but not led astray

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 Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers is Step 7 - Be guided by SARA, but not led astray. Problem Oriented Policing (POP) requires that police study the problem they are trying to solve in depth.
This is a form of action research, a well-established social science method in which researchers work alongside practitioners, helping to formulate and refine interventions until success is achieved. Source: Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers
Problem Oriented Policing uses the acronym SARA to help guide the process. SARA stands for Scanning, Analysis, Response and Assessment. In most cases it is important to follow the acronym from one stage to the next in order to properly use the model and get the most out of the POP methodology.

It is also important to point out that you might have to shift back and forth among the stages. Your response to a problem may require more analysis to fine tune the response as more information is gained. The authors point out:
An assessment of the short-term response could add to the analysis and contribute to the formulation of a new response, which is then assessed. This might lead back to scanning as new information forces a revision of the problem definition or the discovery of new problems. The important point is that analysis and evaluation are meaningfully incorporated into the sequence of events and one does not simply jump from scanning to response and declare victory. Source: Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers
Many times dealing with problems forces outside the Department (and even those inside the Department) tend to pressure us to jump from identifying a problem to implementing a solution immediately. We need to avoid the pressure and stick to the SARA model to ensure the greatest likelihood of actually solving the problem.

Next, we'll cover the step Use The Problem Analysis Triangle.

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