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Finding Out What You Don't Know: Tips on Using Crime Analysts

NCJ Number
THE POLICE CHIEF Volume: 75 Issue: 9 Dated: September 2008 Pages: 36-39
Kevin Paletta; Stacy Belledin
Date Published
September 2008
4 pages
This article provides practical advice on how police chiefs can use their crime analysts to make better-informed decisions.
The fundamental function of a crime analysis unit is to provide its “customers”--police officers and their support staff--with crime series, patterns, and trends and to help develop information that can improve the chances of apprehending criminals and preventing crimes. Strategically and operationally, good crime analysts should be their chief’s most valued consultants. Chiefs are instrumental in developing an effective relationship between crime analysts and the rest of the organization. In fulfilling this function, chiefs must emphasize the benefits of using the crime analysis function in support of the agency’s mission. Chiefs should also monitor the work of the crime analysis unit in order to ensure that its core activities are related to the agency’s mission. In addition, chiefs should expose crime analysts to the daily operations of the department, both to inform other personnel and units about what crime analysts are doing and to acquaint crime analysts with the capabilities and responsibilities of other agency personnel. Further, the chief should integrate the crime analysis unit into the agency’s training programs, so that agency personnel receive initial and ongoing information about what the unit does and how it relates to job responsibilities of other agency personnel. In addition, the chief should provide administrative and financial support for the crime analysis unit in order to ensure its effectiveness and also continually explore new opportunities for the agency to use crime-analysis staff.