What is Crime Analysis?

Crime analysis is both a profession and a set of techniques. The professionals who perform crime analysis, and the techniques they use, are dedicated to helping a police department become more effective through better information. The information that analysts provide can help:

  • Solve crimes
  • Develop effective strategies and tactics to prevent future crimes
  • Find and apprehend offenders
  • Prosecute and convict offenders
  • Improve safety and quality of life
  • Optimize internal operations
  • Prioritize patrol and investigation
  • Detect and solve community problems
  • Plan for future resource needs
  • Enact effective policies
  • Educate the public

The heart and soul of any department’s success in its principal obligation of crime control is first rate crime analysis—a field of endeavor that has been growing in leaps and bounds, thankfully, but unfortunately is still not funded adequately in most agencies’ budgets. Chiefs need to understand just how essential this area is to successful crime control.
-Chief William Bratton, Los Angeles Police Department

Some crime analysts work for large police departments, some work for small ones. Some are civilian career professionals; others are police officers in temporary or permanent assignments.

Although the profession has long been called crime analysis, in truth many analysts spend most of their time looking at non-criminal incidents, including disorder calls, noise, domestic disputes, and traffic accidents. Some departments use the terms “public safety analysis” or “police information analysis” instead.

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