Effective Tactical Analysis for Robbery Investigations

by Elizabeth Hall
City X is besieged by multiple daytime robberies involving multiple jurisdictions in the city. In the last year statistics show a 20% increase in robberies in general.   In order to effectively deal with this crime problem this agency will discuss what investigative steps should be taken to identify the sources of the problem.  We will also discuss what technological assistance may be needed; we will analyze the patterns of robberies committed during the day time, and come up with a plan for synthesizing the data.  After the patterns are identified and the data is synthesized we can decide what investigative units, equipment, and supplies are needed.  Once all of that is decided, we will look into acquiring funding to implement our strategic plan to reduce the daytime robberies in City X, and hopefully apprehend the person or persons responsible for the robberies.
Human blood droplets. An example of a forensic...
Human blood droplets. An example of a forensics photograph of an imitation crime scene. A scale by a common object (United States Quarter) has been used. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Investigative Steps
When analyzing patterns and trends in crime there are several investigative steps that can be utilized to identify the source and implement strategic steps to deal with the trends (Bruce, Hicks, & Cooper, 2004). These are,
1.      Review police reports from all jurisdictions
2.      Re-interview any witnesses found in the police reports
3.      Review all forensic evidence from the cases found within the police reports.
4.      Review any camera footage captured at the scenes.
5.      Review the tactical analysis of the police agencies within the city’s multiple jurisdictions for trends and similarities they have already found.
6.      Synthesize the data for easier review by querying the robberies and organizing the data by details such as MO, time of day, or location.
7.      Map the offenses
8.      Determine if we can borrow any manpower from the agencies involved.
9.      Call agencies surrounding the city to determine if there are any increases in their areas.
10.  Look at any zoning changes, large population changes, or new businesses that could be affecting the rates of these crimes.
The effective utilization of these investigative steps will allow us to step back and develop strategical plans to effectively use our resources as wisely as possible (Bruce, Hicks, & Cooper, 2004).
Technological Assistance
Police agencies have come a long way since the days when everything was hand written and gone over piece by piece as noted by Foster (2000).  Some of the technical assistance that will be utilized in this strategic plan are fairly new tools brought on by the technological advances made with the invention of computers.   AFIS and NCIC are two databases maintained by law enforcement nationally which allow agencies to compare both arrest records and fingerprints to quickly locate matches or suspects recently arrested or released.  There will also be use of the Uniform Crime Report Data, and NIMBRS both which record incident reports.  Another technological tool that can be utilized is Geographical Information Software (GIS) that allows for analysts to create complex mapping data (International Association of Crime Analysts, (IACA), 2012.   
Analyzing the Robbery Pattern
The S.A.R.A. model of analytics is often used in law enforcement (Neighborhood Association of Michigan, 2000). There are four steps in this model, scanning, analyzing, response and assessment. Scanning is where you identify the problem, analyzing of course is where the raw data comes in.  Response is the strategic plans that are put into place, and assessment is where you decide if your plan is effective.  The first step in analyzing the robbery pattern is the gathering of raw data.  The data will be the police reports and tactical reports from the individual jurisdictions.  We will have to get them from each jurisdiction individually, and we need to examine at least the last five years to determine levels of change (Bruce, Hicks, & Cooper, 2004).
GemIdent analyzing results using data analysis...
GemIdent analyzing results using data analysis and visualization tools (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Synthesizing the Data and Data Conclusion
The next step would be to synthesize the data to get what we are looking for easily.  What this means is taking out the data that is not needed in order to look at the particulars of the crimes we are interested in.  Once the data is synthesized we would interview any witnesses listed in the individual robbery reports, go over any forensic evidence collected to see if anything was missed that could help, and review any camera footage for the same reasons (Bruce, Hicks, & Cooper, 2004). Effectively we can measure the rate of change by dividing the number of robbery crimes by the population for each year looked at which would give us a per person comparison (Siegel, 2010). 
We can also measure the percentage of change in the last five years of robbery crimes by calculating the new data minus the old data, divided by the old data which would give us the percentage of change in robbery crimes. When we get the data the most effective way to manage this is to create a spreadsheet or database with all of the crime information by jurisdiction.  We can then drill down to separate the robberies from all of the other crimes reported.  The best way would be to arrange the data so that it can be sorted by jurisdiction, type of robbery, time of day, MO, and location, which will allow us to separate the data we are looking for easily (Bruce, Hicks, & Cooper, 2004).
What we have found through this process is that there is an increase in all jurisdictions of property crimes in general and robberies have increased in the areas located on the major highway that runs through all of them.  The data shows that the city population has doubled from five years ago, and convenience store robberies account for most of the increase.  This coincides with the increase in these types of businesses as the neighborhoods have grown considerably.  The robberies were committed by different Part of the solution is to increase patrols, and maintain a higher police presence in the neighborhoods, at least until we can get the problem contained. 
Investigative Units Needed
In order to effectively execute our strategic planning we needed to use several different investigative units.  These are comprised of the individual crime analysis units of the jurisdictions, the investigative units of each jurisdiction, regular beat cops, and of course the forensics team.  The solution requires us to hire more patrol units, at least two per jurisdiction.  Each patrol unit is comprised of two officers, so we will need a total of ten new officers for the city.
Metro Transit Police
Metro Transit Police (Photo credit: cliff1066™)
Equipment and Supplies Needed
To complete our evaluation of this problem, we needed GIS software to aid in our crime mapping, and computers to crunch the numbers and save us time.  We also used database software such as Goldmine in all of the jurisdictions to effectively be able to keep records management.  Microsoft Access is also useful in crime analysis and is used in many police organizations by their crime analysis units.  None of these software packages are effective if the persons using them are not trained, so we have to have training programs available as well (IACA, 2012).  In our strategical solution we need to hire more patrol officers to maintain a high police presence.  This also requires that we have more patrol cars and more spots in the training facility for law enforcement officers.
Acquiring Funding
When agencies need more equipment or personnel they must apply for grants or funding from agencies designed or this usually associated with the Department of Justice.  There are programs within the Office of Community Policing for funding equipment and personnel increases that can be applied for such as the Cops Hiring Program, and the Community Policing Development program (COPS, 2013).  The National Institute of Justice offers funding programs and grants for equipment purchases such as the Justice Association Grant Program which applies funding for equipment purchases and new personnel.  There is also programs for transferring federal surplus property to state and local agencies at the National Institute of Justice (n.d.).
3201 S Halsted's Traffic Analysis Zone
3201 S Halsted's Traffic Analysis Zone (Photo credit: Steven Vance)
When looking at crimes from a law enforcement perspective, crime analysis units provide the most effective information.  This is because it is their job to keep track of the data collected and to provide the agencies with reports and planning to deal with the crime problems of the jurisdiction.  In this essay we looked at the robbery pattern of City X, and discovered that the population has had an explosion, along with the increase of robbery crimes.  The recommendation is to hire more patrol personnel to ensure a high police presence in the areas affected by this population increase. To do this we need to apply for funding with an agency such as the National Institute of Justice or the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services to afford the equipment and extra personnel needed to curb this problem. 

Bruce, C.W., Hick, S.R., & Cooper, J.P. (2004).  Exploring Crime Analysis Reading on Essential             Skills.  International Association of Crime Analysts.  Overland Park, KS.
Community Oriented Policing Services, (COPS) (2013).  Grants and Funding.  Retrieved From: http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/default.asp?item=46
Foster, R.E. (2000).  Police Technology.  Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall
International Association of Crime Analysts (IACA), (2012).  GIS Software Requirements for Crime Analysts: Standards, Methodology, & Technology (SMT) Committee White Paper. Retrieved From http://www.iaca.net/Publications/IACA
National Associations of Michigan, (2002). What is S.A.R.A. Problem Solving? Retrieved From: http://www.a2gov.org/government/safetyservices/Police/Documents/SARA%20problem%20solving%20sheet.pdf
National Institute of Justice, (n.d.).  Funding for Equipment.  Retrieved From: http://www.nij.gov/funding/equipment-funding.htm
 Siegel, L.J. (2010). Criminology: Theories, Patterns, and Typologies. Tenth Edition. Belmont: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

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