The Value of Crime Analysis
Crime analysis is a law enforcement function that involves systematic analysis for identifying and analyzing patterns and trends in crime and disorder. Information on patterns can help agencies deploy resources in a more effective manner and assist officers in identifying and apprehending suspects. Crime analysis also plays a role in devising solutions to crime problems and formulating crime prevention strategies.
Analyzing crime and crime patterns can be traced back to the feudal period of England. Populations and geographic areas were small, and people knew each other well. The local law enforcement official knew who the troublemakers were and had a good knowledge of how they committed their crimes.
By the late 1800s, crime in Europe had risen significantly to the point that it seemed only someone like fictional character Sherlock Holmes could effectively root out the criminals. Of course, Holmes’ techniques were fictional and actual techniques were not as advanced at the time.
As time passed new scientific discoveries came to be of significant benefit to law enforcement. Growths of scientific inquiry allowed law enforcement to accurately determine the nature of criminal activity and predict its further occurrence.
In the 1900s, the Chief of the Berkley California Police Department, August Vollmer, introduced the English techniques of systematic classification of offender MO (modus operandi) to the United States. Chief Vollmer developed the technique of examining recorded calls-for-service to perform beat analyses and was instrumental in promoting the use of the “pin” or “spot” map for visually identifying areas where crime and calls were concentrated.
The St. Joseph Police Department currently uses computer software and an electronic version of the “pin” map. Crime mapping helps the public get a better idea of the crime activity in their area so they can make more informed decisions about how to stay safe. The Community Crime Map goes beyond crime mapping by automatically alerting the public about recent crime activity and by improving communication between the public and law enforcement through anonymous tips. The map empowers the public to make better decisions about crime by putting the same technology used by law enforcement to analyze and interpret crime activity into the hands of the public. The Community Crime Map can be viewed on the
police department's page