The Crime Analysis Unit is staffed by 3 employees: a Supervisory Crime Analyst, and two Crime Analysts. The unit also offers internship opportunities for students in the field of criminal justice, geographic information systems (GIS) and public administration.
What is Crime Analysis?
A set of systematic, analytical processes directed at providing timely and pertinent information relative to crime patterns and trend correlations to assist the operational and administrative personnel in planning the deployment of resources for the prevention and suppression of criminal activities, aiding the investigative process, and increasing apprehensions and the clearance of cases.
Within this context, Crime Analysis supports a number of department functions including patrol deployment, special operations, and tactical units, investigations, planning and research, crime prevention, and administrative services (budgeting and program planning). --Steven Gottlieb et al., 1994, "Crime Analysis: From First Report To Final Arrest."
The Alexandria Police Department’s Crime Analysis Unit carefully reviews and analyzes all crime reports, calls for service, arrests, and other pertinent information. In addition, the Crime Analysis Unit seeks to identify and analyze crime patterns, series and trends. These types of analyses provides commanders, supervisors, detectives and officers with information necessary to deter crime, identify offenders and make sound deployment decisions.
What Role Does the Crime Analysis Unit Play Within the APD?
The Crime Analysis Unit works together to produce tactical, strategic and intelligence-related products for commanders and line level personnel. The Crime Analysis Unit performs analysis of current crime series and patterns as well as long-term strategic analysis of crime-related problems throughout the City. This unit supports the patrol function by providing officers with information on emerging trends, patterns and series. Crime analysts also support the investigative function with association charts, link analysis and other intelligence related products. Some sample products produced by these analysts are weekly and monthly reports, analytical maps, and crime bulletins.
The analysis performed by the Crime Analysis Unit is used for tracking current and emerging crime series in the City. Commanders, detectives and patrol officers use these products to aid with investigations, surveillance efforts and problem solving projects. Crime bulletins and the weekly crime report are posted to the Mobile Data Browsers (MDB) so officers can access the information regarding crime series and trends while on the street. This immediate access to crime analysis products helps officers better focus their efforts within their beats or sectors and keeps them abreast of immediate patterns and trends.
Problem identification and analysis are also at the cornerstone of the Crime Analysis Unit. Long-term strategic analysis of crime issues and problems are performed by crime analysts to help sector command staff effectively manage, allocate and deploy resources. This type of analysis also helps command staff work to identify problem addresses, ‘hot’ products, repeat offenders and crime specific hot spots.
How Does the Crime Analysis Aid the SRS Process?
The Crime Analysis Unit is a key component in the Department’s Strategic Response System (SRS). Working in conjunction with the Field Operations Bureau and the Criminal Investigation Division, SRS allows for the early identification and location of crime trends. The information provided through the SRS process is used to identify trouble spots and emerging problems and to better target resources to combat crime.
What Types of Analysis Do Crime Analysts Perform?
Tactical crime analysis: deals with immediate criminal offenses to promote a quick response. It provides information to assist operational personnel in the identification and analysis of specific crime trends, series and patterns. Tactical analysis links offender and modus operandi information from a number of offenses in an attempt to provide investigative leads, help solve crimes, and clear cases after apprehension and arrests.
Strategic crime analysis: involves analysis of long-term crime problems and trends. Its purpose is to identify unusual crime activities over certain levels or at different seasonal times, identify unusual community conditions, provide police service more effectively and efficiently, reduce and/or eliminate recurring problems, and assist in community policing or problem-oriented policing.
Administrative crime analysis: involves analysis related to providing economic, geographic and law enforcement information to police management, city hall, city council, and neighborhood/citizen groups. It is critical to budget, personnel, public information, and legal issues.
Intelligence analysis: finds and analyzes criminal relationships by linking criminal organizations or events to determine who is doing what with whom.