The integration of crime analysis into police patrol work

Rachel Boba Santos (Criminology and Criminal Justice, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, USA)
Bruce Taylor (NORC at the University of Chicago, Bethesda, Maryland, USA)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Publication date: 12 August 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine national survey data of police agencies in the USA to explore the current state of crime analysis integration to patrol crime reduction work.

Design/methodology/approach

The data examined in this paper are from a national quantitative survey which sought to understand how crime analysis results are used by officers as well as higher ranking personnel in the patrol division and what types of strategies are implemented using crime analysis.

Findings

The findings show that the routine use of crime analysis is not well integrated. Despite the low integration, however, some differences were found. Management uses crime analysis the most overall, but officers and first-line supervisors use tactical crime analysis more routinely than management, where management personnel use evaluation most routinely. Tactical crime analysis is used most often for directed patrol, strategic for both directed patrol and general information, and evaluation for both general information and crime prevention. Analysis of using analysis proactively shows that agencies use tactical crime analysis most proactively, followed by the strategic crime analysis, then evaluation.

Research limitations/implications

The study relies on self-report surveys, so the results may suffer from some of the general limitations of self-reports. Also, the study resulted in a lower response rate than surveys of police agencies typically achieve. Although responding and non-responding agencies were comparable in terms of population size, number of officers, and region of the country, the response rate was about 55 percent. However, it is a possibility based on the analysis results that non-responses may reflect a disinterest in the topic or the lack of integration of crime analysis.

Originality/value

This is the first national survey that focussed specifically on crime analysis integration in patrol work for crime reduction. The value of the results presented here are in the description of the current state of crime analysis integration in the USA which has not been investigated in such depth before and the identifications of gaps in both research in practice.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This project was supported by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, US Department of Justice [Grant Number 2007-CK-WX-K010]. The opinions contained herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the US Department of Justice, the Police Executive Research Forum or any other organization. References to specific agencies, companies, products, or services should not be considered an endorsement by the author(s) or the US Department of Justice. Rather, the references are illustrations to supplement discussion of the issues.

The authors are most grateful to the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) for their support through this project. In particular, we thank Chuck Wexler for his leadership and Chris Koper for his support of the project as well as Bruce Kubu and Nathan Ballard for their work administering the national survey. The authors thank Sergeant Apollo Kowalyk, Edmonton Police Service, who provided important original ideas to help start the project during his Fellowship at PERF and made major contributions in the formative stages of the project. The authors would also like to thank the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (the COPS Office) for funding the grant. In particular, the authors recognize Matthew Scheider and Nicole Scalisi for their participation in the focus groups as well as their contribution to the ideas presented in the guidebook. Lastly, the authors would like to recognize the many agencies who allowed their personnel to participate in the national survey, focus groups, working groups, and the case study.

Citation

Boba Santos, R. and Taylor, B. (2014), "The integration of crime analysis into police patrol work ", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 37 No. 3, pp. 501-520. https://doi.org/10.1108/PIJPSM-08-2012-0075

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Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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