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Crime Analysis Considerations for Establishing or Enhancing Capacity

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2020
11 pages
After an overview of the goals of a law enforcement Crime Analysis Unit (CAU), this report discusses issues that should be considered and activities performed in establishing or improving a CAU.
A CAU is composed of one or more analysts who collect, process, analyze, and report crime trends, patterns, and problems, as well as people involved in crime. CAUs are needed to identify. quantify, and locate public safety threats in a jurisdiction so that law enforcement resources can be used efficiently and effectively. This report distinguishes CAUs from law enforcement intelligence or investigatory analysis centers or units, which focus on acquiring information on specific persons or groups. CAUs, on the other hand, collect and analyze data to identify trends, patterns, and problems that threaten public safety. Several factors are involved in improving an agency's crime analysis capacity, and these should be assessed by each department. This technical assistance report identifies and discusses nine factors that law enforcement agencies should consider in identifying the best organizational structure, data/technology needs, and requirements for sustaining a CAU. Features of organizational structure discussed include the readiness and commitment of agency leadership; the CAU's span of control or influence; CAU organizational structure (centralized, decentralized, or hybrid); and personnel. The discussion of data and technology focuses on access to relevant data sources, supportive technology, and personnel resources that support technical and data processes. The discussion of CAU sustainability pertains to marketing the unit among agency personnel and improving analytical capacity.

Date Published: April 1, 2020