What is Crime Analysis?
It isn’t how many officers an agency has, but what it does with those officers (being in the right place at the right time) that is important. Crime analysis is the component that makes this a possibility. It provides a sophisticated means for identifying and apprehending criminals. Crime analysis helps a police department become more effective through better information.
Joplin Police Department hired its first crime analyst in January 2009. Vanessa West currently serves as the crime analyst as well as the accreditation coordinator for the department. West's analyst duties involve providing timely crime data to the department and identifying crime patterns and trends.
The crime analysis process includes the following steps concerning crime patterns and trends:
- collect - gather raw data
- collate - sort raw data
- analyze - identify crime patterns and series
- disseminate - timely distribution of advice based on analysis
- feedback & evaluation - to determine usefulness
Among Moore's analyst duties, she finds patterns, series, trends, and hot spots as they happen; produces reports, charts, maps, graphs, and other statistical summaries; forecasts future crime occurrences; provides investigative leads; and performs tedious intelligence searches.
IMPACT (Improving Methods Pro-Actively Against Crime Trends) is a data driven crime control model that has proven effective in reducing targeted crimes in areas where it was implemented. Each month, the crime analyst produces a detailed report of where and when crime occurs throughout the city. At monthly supervisor meetings, the findings are discussed and new areas are proposed to direct crime prevention efforts. This allows our department to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to crime reduction.