Table of Contents
Crime analysis is a critical function of law enforcement that encompasses systemic analysis for analyzing and identifying the existing trends in both crime and disorder. Police officers among other law enforcement agencies in the country carry out an extensive analysis of data in their attempt to maintain law and order. Traditional crime analysis methods were both tedious and laborious. However, the systemic improvements in technology have created new effective ways of analyzing the data. Technological innovations have since eased crime analysis while enhancing the quality of such analyses. The police departments among other law enforcement agencies across the country rely on different technologies to carry out their work with immense success. This paper discusses the various technologies employed in crime analysis, the methods of collecting information and the benefits of the crime analysis in law enforcement.
The most basic technology in crime analysis is computers (Manning, 2011). The invention of computers introduced new and effective ways of analyzing data. Police departments employ different computer programs to analyze the vast amounts of data they collect to trace patterns of crime and disorder. Crime mapping is a key undertaking that requires the use of computers. It refers to the tracking of different types of crimes that occur in various jurisdictions. Police officers track the crimes by their date, geographical location and time among other details. The mapping helps the police plot the what, how, where and when a crime occurs. This way, the police department can increase both uniformed and undercover police officers to intercept crime before it occurs.
The use of computers and various computer programs have enhanced crime mapping thereby providing police officers with accurate information in tracing and tracking patterns of both crime and disorder. Some of the common computer programs the police employ in mapping crime include Maptitude, GIS/Mapping Software, CrimeStat and ArcGIS MapInfo among others (Boba, 2006). The programs run in any type of computers including laptops and iPad to facilitate mobility in law enforcement. The utilization of the programs has enhanced quality and reliability in law enforcement. They are reliable in predicting crime thereby enabling police officers to use tailored techniques that fit the type of crime prevalent in specific areas. The incorporation of computer technology has therefore improved the success rates for law enforcers who can track both criminals and patterns of crime to ensure that they discourage the manifestation of both within their jurisdictions.
Other equally important technologies the police employ in crime analysis include printers, radios, scanner and fingerprint reading gadgets among others. Communication is key in crime analysis. The law enforcers must communicate and share information. As such, multiple channel radios have proven strategic in offering high-quality communication that is free from interference by any individuals. The law enforcers complement the radios with other modes of communication, which include memos, electronic mails, and telephones among others to enhance the efficiency of sharing information. Printers and scanners are also integral in analyzing crime. Printers enable police officers to print posters while scanners help police officers digitize data for ease of sharing and even analysis. Fingerprint scanners are also critical in identifying suspects. Law enforcers employ a multiple of techniques in analyzing crime thereby resulting in a comprehensive approach to crime prevention in the contemporary society.
Other equally important roles of law enforcers include the collecting, storing and retrieving of information. The three influence the quality of police officers among other law enforcers. The agencies have embraced the use of technology in undertaking the three thereby ensuring quality and reliability in their operations. The methods the police use in collecting, storing and retrieving information include Management Information Systems (MIS), Mobile Digital Terminals (MDT), Records Management Systems (RMS) and Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) among others. Management Information Systems are complex information systems that comprise of computers, telephones and fax machines among others that allow for a controlled access of a centralized database. The database enables the officers to compile and access information gun permits, reported crimes and motor vehicle stops among others. The system facilitates a centralized response to crime thereby ensuring cohesion and efficiency in police work.
Computer aided dispatch is a computerized system of stacking up calls and requests received from the public in their order of urgency. The system dispatches police officers to the most urgent calls. Records Management Systems is a computerized method of database management that enables law enforcement agents to access the information they need about crimes and criminals. The system allows a controlled access to a centralized database as the agents retrieved the records within record time using keywords. Mobile Digital Terminals are communication devices installed in cars to enable officers to access and compile reports about criminals. Officers on patrol use a set of equipment in their cars, which include cameras, radios, tablets and telephones to access information and even update their records.
Crime analysis has benefits both to the community and to the law enforcement. To the law enforcement, crime analysis enhances efficiency in operations. The various technologies enable the police officers to respond to crime within a record time. The coordinated flow of information enables the police to complete their investigations within short periods a feature that improves the effective utilization of police resources (Pattavina, 2005). Secondly, crime analysis improves the quality of police officers among other agencies. The officers employ reliable technologies in tracking crimes and criminals. They also develop reliable evidence and records that enable them to arrest and prosecute their suspects in time.
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To the community, crime analysis improves security. Police officers have the capacity to track crimes in different regions thereby gaining the capacity to prevent the crimes. The analyses are reliable and give the officers dependable patterns thus enabling them to intercept criminal groups operating within communities. Similarly, the Computer Aided Dispatch among other technologies enables the police to respond in time thereby preventing crime and saving human lives. Secondly, crime analysis enhances cooperation between the communities and the law enforcers. The community has reliable ways of reaching and sharing information with police officers. Officers also have ways of accessing the community and interacting with the people including suspects and reformed suspects. Such cooperation enhances the quality of law enforcement and the process of reintroduction of ex-convicts into the communities.
- Boba, R. (2006). Crime analysis and crime mapping. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
- Manning, P. K. (2011). The technology of policing: Crime mapping, information technology, and the rationality of crime control. New York: New York University Press.
- Pattavina, A. (2005). Information technology and the criminal justice system. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications.