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Technology and Crime Analysis

By danamtaz Sep 01, 2011 1126 Words
Technology and Crime Analysis

Crime is not as random as it appears and crime mapping is the start of crime analysis. A variety of factors are in play with any crime or series of crimes and if we can find those clues or factors it will help find the offender. Crime mapping is using information to identify the problem and solve it by analysis. Crime analysis is basically just problem solving. There are different ways of problem solving and analysis of the problem is part of the method. One of the most used problem solving methods used by police is Scanning–Analysis–Response–Assessment (SARA). The steps used by SARA are scanning, analysis, and response is a lot like crime analysis. Police departments that don’t conduct crime analysis are not as likely to be involved in community-oriented policing.

Situational crime prevention
‘Situational crime prevention’ or ‘target hardening’ is an important part of police activity at the local level. Installation of CCTV systems covering car, lorry or bicycle parks, football stadiums and public transport stations, the indelible marking of property and the installation of security gates to prevent access to the rear of terraced blocks of housing are a few examples of the methods used to improve prospects of identifying (and thereby deterring) car thieves, vandals, terrorists, house burglars and other offenders. Inside some areas it is possible to monitor recorded crime levels quite carefully. This makes it possible to design experiments to measure the impact of specific crime prevention measures. Often there are complications like crime displaced to adjoin areas, different types of offences and underestimating crime reduction effects, since not all crime is reported. But in essence such settings enable reasonable estimates to be made of the returns from projects in terms of their crime reduction effect. Routine activity theory

“Routine Activity Theory” provides a simple and powerful insight into the causes of crime problems. To have a crime, a motivated offender must come to the same place as an attractive target. For property crimes the target is an object or thing. For personal crimes the target is a person. If an attractive target is never in the same place as a motivate offender, the target will not be taken, damaged, or assaulted. Also, there are controllers whose presence can prevent crime. If the controllers are absent, or present but powerlessness, crime is possible. First, consider people who are influential in the lives of potential offenders. With juveniles these might be parents, relatives, siblings, peers, teachers, coaches, and other similarly placed individuals. With adults these people may include intimate partners, close friends, relatives, and sometimes their children. These people are called “handlers” in routine activity theory. Crimes will take place where handlers are absent, weak, or corrupt. Next consider targets, or victims. Guardians try to protect targets from theft and damage and potential victims from attack and assault. Formal guardians include the police, security guards, and others whose job is to protect people and property from crime. Informal guardians include neighbors, friends, and others who happen to be in the same place as the attractive target. Parents, teachers, peers and others close to potential victims are also potential guardians. A target with an effective guardian is less likely to be attacked by a potential offender than a target without a guardian. If the guardian is absent, weak, or corrupt little protection is provided the target. Finally, consider places. Someone owns every location and ownership confers certain rights to regulate access to the site and behaviors of people using the site. The owner and the agents of the owner (e.g., employees) look after the place and the people using the place. Owners and their agents are called place managers. Place managers control the behavior of offenders and potential victims. Examples of place manager include merchants, lifeguards, parking lot attendants, recreation and park workers, janitors, and motel clerks. In the presence of an effective place manager, crime is less likely than when the manager is absent, weak or corrupt. Serial offenders

Though always tragic, murder cases generally have fairly predictable scenarios. Generally speaking, murderers are driven by a motive – either for profit, to exact some kind of revenge or to silence a witness to mask a previous crime. However, there’s one type of offender that really tests the criminalists resolve – the serial offender. When a serial killer, rapist or saboteur is picking off victims at random, investigators have nothing to predict what the offender might do next. One of history’s most gruesome killers was Jack the Ripper, who terrorised the East End of London in 1888. His apparently motiveless slaying of prostitutes began and ended entirely without warning. The fact that the crimes went completely unpunished merely adds to the myth. Forensic science has come a long way since then. Just over a century later, in 1989, handsome, charming charity working graduate Ted Bundy was executed in Florida. He murdered 15 young women in a spree of rape and violence that lasted from 1974 to 1978. In that time he deceived the police and escaped from prison twice, always returning to his volatile murderous ways. Geographic profiling

Crime mapping and analysis is more sophisticated and always growing. There are still a lot of agencies using crime mapping simply to highlight hot spots, or areas with a lot of incidents, and geographic profiling is for more advanced projects. For serial crimes and usually the most serious crimes is where geographic profiling comes into play. A profile is information about an offender, the person’s personal attributes. Crime analysis is being used increasingly as a means to determine offenders’ geographic attributes—where they potentially live, work, and socialize. The key to geographic profiling is that people tend to follow predictable patterns. Geographic profiling is a fairly advanced crime analysis technique that takes the attributes of time, space, behavior, target, and offender and analyzes their spatial and temporal information in order to first determine an offender’s activity space. These methods of analysis use complex algorithms that start with the premise that serial offenders tend to commit their crimes within areas of their own routine activity, but they stay away from areas they would be readily recognized, like their homes. Using a software program, the data indicates a general hunting area. The hunting area is where the offender looks for victims. As we saw with the relatively simple crime analysis, the more crimes in the series, the better the probability of prediction. With crime data, this software seeks to provide a probable location of the offender’s home. Cited from

CJ216_Ch12.pdf
http://www.costsofcrime.org/PolicyApplications/SituationalCrimePrevention http://www.popcenter.org/learning/pam/help/theory.cfm
http://www.yourdiscovery.com/crime/the_criminal_mind/serial_offenders/index.shtml

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