In this post in our walk through the excellent book Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers we're up to one of the most important chapters, Step 54 - Tell A Clear Story.
When I tell people what I do for a living, sometimes people ask just what it is that a crime analyst does. My usual stock answer is to tell people that I provide police departments with the information they need to make good decisions. The very first line of this chapter starts with the exact same thought:
The purpose of your work is to help people make better decisions.It's this crucial part of the crime analyst's job that has led me to cover topics in this blog such as information design guru Edward Tufte's thoughts on PowerPoint as a communication medium (he doesn't like it). You can conduct a really top flight analysis of a crime problem but if you can't effectively communicate your findings to the decision maker's in your agency, all your efforts are for naught.
There is path that data takes to become knowledge.
- Data becomes information when it is analyzed.
- Information becomes knowledge when it's communicated effectively.
The authors suggest using both the SARA process (Step 7) and CHEERS test (Step 13) as a framework for communicating your story to your audience. They integrate them into a great sample "four story outline" for you to base your presentation on.
Effectively communicating your story is as critical a skill for a crime analyst as GIS, or knowledge of your agency's Records Management System software. Learn what makes for an effective presentation. Not only will your audience thank you for it, but you will help your department to make better decisions.
Next time, we'll cover Step 55 - Make Clear Maps.