Describe the role of the crime analyst in solving crimes and identify various crime analysis strategies they may utilize. In addition, define the concepts of Intelligence Applications in Law Enforcement.

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Describe the role of the crime analyst in solving crimes and identify various crime analysis strategies they may utilize. In addition, define the concepts of Intelligence Applications in Law Enforcement.

Using double spaced, 12 pt font size, and common font style (Times New Roman).

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Week 1 Lesson

Role of the Crime Analyst


After reading this weeks materials, you will be able to define the role of the Crime Analyst and examine the strategies that are applied to law enforcement intelligence. The class will be exposed to the Intelligence Cycle and the 5 phases which will be the basis for all investigative, prevention, and reduction of crime efforts by law enforcement decision makers.

Lesson Objectives

Understand the Role of the Crime Analyst

Identify various Criminal Analysis Strategies

Define the concepts of Intelligence Applications in Law Enforcement

Summarize the 5 phases of The Intelligence Cycle.

Course Objectives that apply to this lesson:

CO-1: Demonstrate an understanding of the role and responsibilities of the crime analyst.

CO-2: Discuss various criminal investigative and crime analysis strategies and techniques.


This week we will be discussing the roles and responsibilities of the crime analyst, as well as prevention and intervention. Crime prevention and intervention requires excellent criminal analysis. The consolidation of criminal analysis, problem-oriented policing, and crime-prevention functions requires integration under a unified discipline and command structure. Present times offer law enforcement a variety of new strategies to suppress and prevent crime. Criminal information is essential to successful crime intervention. Successful crime reduction = Criminal analysis + crime prevention planning & strategies + citizen participation.

Crime Analysts

Analysts aid administrators to identify criminal behaviors, crime patterns and to ultimately interrupt criminal patterns (crime detection, deterrence & prevention) enabling them to deploy assets and manpower effectively. Analysts evaluate information provided to them and produce intelligence to be utilized at the strategic, intelligence, investigative, operational and criminal levels.

Crime Analysis

At its core, investigating crimes involves a process and more than one officer, investigator, or analyst. It is the collaborative efforts that lead to effective and efficient investigations. By applying the SARA model of policing, we can first identify if there is a problem, collect and analyze the data, hypothesize the nature and extent of the problem, and finally create a report, time-line, or flow chart that compiles and displays the information to be easily understood and acted upon by the intended customer such as police management. Whether you are working the streets, undercover, SWAT member, detective, or in any other position, this system can be extremely beneficial. This week we will start diving into the concepts and benefits.

Crime analysis has been around since the early 18th century when Sir Robert Peel founded the Metropolitan Police Department. Even Chief Orlando W. Wilson in the early 1920s saw the importance of the crime analyst from examining crime reports to crime trends.

Whether it is the 18th century or the 21st century, the need for crime analysts remains. As the years have passed, technology has changed the methods of crime analysts, but the responsibilities have remained constant. Analysts routinely perform collect and evaluate information from various sources as we will discuss this week and in the following 7 weeks. Analysts use this information, synthesize it, and provide valuable intelligence to all facets of the police department, city management, and sometimes community groups.

The final product produced by the analyst can serve several functions.

Tactical analysis centers on short-term crimes that can affect police operations and is usually monitored on a daily basis such as burglaries, robberies, which may occur in a series or pattern. The analysts can use this information as a guide in predicting future crimes.

Analysts use strategic analysis to focus on long-term trends of criminal organizations and associations that is intended to be used in a report with recommendations.

Other forms of analysis undertaken by analysts include intelligence analysis that focuses on criminal organizations and crime narrowing on the leadership roles within those organizations. Analysts also use their skill set to perform crime analysis concerning street crimes and allocation of police resource, criminal investigative analysis which involves crime scene assessments and suspect profiling, and academic analysis or administrative analysis focusing on strategic goals and data.

SARA Model

Gathering information is just the start of the process for analysts. Crime analysts use, collate, and disseminate the information to assist law enforcement and the community.

Crime analysts have been using the SARA model of intelligence gathering dating back to about 1987 when John Eck and William Spelman brought it into the spotlight. The SARA model has the following four elements:





There are a couple of issues to be noted about the SARA process. The process assumes that to solve the problem, it is linear and each aspect should follow the other in the cycle. Sometimes when information is gathered and analyzed, the original hypothesis of the problem is incorrect which causes the process to stop and start over depending on the varying degree of irregularity in the original theory. Another area to be cognizant of is that in law enforcement, a response is required before the entire process is complete, depending on the necessity of response required. Whether crime analysts use open or closed sources, the analytics are essentially totally police products and do not necessarily involve the community.

Cycle of Intelligence

The cycle of intelligence is as it sounds, a cycle. The cycle contains the following five elements:




Analysis and Production; and


This initial step is crucial to the intelligence cycle and sets the stage for the other remaining steps. Planning involves deciding what should be collected, monitored, and analyzed and is usually driven by the end-user because we have to determine early on who will receive the information and the purpose of the information. Once that has been established, we move into the Collection Phase which is simply collecting raw information from various sources such as data mining and social media to name a few.

Once the information is gathered, it is time to process the information which is accomplished by thinking critically to create hypotheses or assumptions. Since the collection of information is being gathered from numerous sources, we have to amass the sometimes voluminous information into a pattern to be able to not only understand what we are looking at, but forecast the potential for further criminal activity.

We have reached another critical stage of the process which is the Analysis Phase. This is where we analyze the information into a finished product. This finished product is used to determine the validity and reliability of the information. Once the validity and reliability of information has been confirmed, the information then can be disseminated to the end-user in the Dissemination Phase. It is this final product that can be used to make decisions.

Intelligence Led and Community Policing (COP)

By using the SARA model and Intelligence Cycle coupled with community oriented policing methods, a well-rounded assessment and solution can be reached. As we will find out throughout this course, the police cannot do it alone. We have to actively engaging the public in intelligence gathering activities such as surveys, monitoring the media, attending social organizations, and community events.

Final Thoughts

Underlying scientific methods remain the foundation for effective prevention and intervention. When this fails to take place, a community may be at risk; criminals find sanctuary for their predation. When crime and disorder replace the legitimate authority of government, citizens are at risk. COP and SARA planning are not a panacea for community crime problems; however, they appear to be the best strategic and tactical measures used to help reduce some risks with certain offenses.


Boba Santos, R., & Taylor, B. (2014). The integration of crime analysis into police patrol work. Policing, 37(3), 501-520. Retrieved from

In support of CO1, CO2; 21 pages

Nolan, C. (2015). Understanding the intelligence cycle. edited by Mark Phythian. New York: Routledge, 2013. Journal of Strategic Security, 8(4), 114-116. doi:

In support of CO2; 5 pages

Peterson, M. (2005, September). Intelligence-LED Policing. U.S. Department of Justice. Bureau of Justice Assistance. Retrieved from

In support of CO1, CO2; 43 pages

Schaible, L. M., & Sheffield, J. (2012). Intelligence-led policing and change in state law enforcement agencies. Policing, 35(4), 761-784. doi:

In support of CO1, CO2; 25 pages