The Roles of Crime Analysis and Intelligence Analysis in the Future of Policing and Homeland Security
The state of this country after the September 11 attacks was of utter shock and disbelief at what had taken place in New York City. One of the most important questions on everybody's mind was whether the United States was safe from another such attack. This question of safety is one that is asked by individuals all around this country still, and not only with regard to homeland security, but also with regard to security close to one's home. In other words, all individuals want to be safe, and want to find the best way for the police force at a local level, or the FBI at nationwide level, to keep all persons safe at a reasonable cost. For this exact reason, for the fact that taxpayers hold the burden of nationwide security, the future of policing and homeland security both rest on good crime and intelligence analysis at all levels. This paper will thus discuss this concept, and will link it to how the roles of crime and intelligence analysis should expand in the future, especially in the realm of policing and homeland security.
In order to place all concepts into context, it is important to define all four of them. First, crime analysis is defined as subcategory of public safety analysis, which is a field that provides information for law enforcement, as well as the means and data to curb and eventually stop crime.
Crime analysis comprises the following:
i) Studies of criminal incidents,
ii) Identification of patterns or trends associated with crime, as well as crime-related problems,
iii) Analysis of incidents, patterns, or trends,
iv) Dissemination of information to all law enforcement agencies so that all agencies can develop policies in order to tackle crime-related problems, patterns and trends.
For all the reasons presented above, crime analysis is very important to the well-being of society, especially if a society or segment of society needs protection. With new technology, crime analysis is also becoming increasingly able to pinpoint pressing issues to be addressed, as well as ways to address these problems, all of which will be discussed in the section that follows.
Second, however, it is also important to understand what intelligence analysis means. Various individuals have various opinions on what exactly the working definition of this concept should be, especially when related to government work. The CIA, for instance, debates the definition stating that although intelligence analysis means "the application of individual and collective cognitive methods to weigh data and test hypotheses within a secret socio-cultural context," the actual meaning of the concept is hard to establish.
The FBI opts for the practical application of the concept of 'intelligence analysis,' and does so by describing what its personnel does in this context, namely that an intelligence analyst undertakes various roles, including:
i) Protecting the country against all threats, national or international, by working to understand and examine "specifically defined geographical and/or functional areas,"
ii) Protecting the country against "domestic threats" by "making use of local and national intelligence databases […]" in order to best inform agents in the field,
iii) Shaping intelligence policy by maintaining a national and international network of communication with contacts and other agents, in order to garner intelligence and compile reports for various utilizations, including to root out any threats for the nation.
Thirdly and fourthly, in this section, the significance of policing and homeland security will be examined. These are of vital importance to the concepts mentioned above, as they all interrelate to make a strong network of information for the protection of the nation. Policing is simply referring to law enforcement agencies and individuals tasked with protecting a community by utilizing the means necessary to root out violence and curb or prevent crime.
Lastly, the concept of homeland security, so familiar after the September 11 attacks, means "keeping home safe;" in this case, keeping the nation safe. This concept has also given rise to a new department within the U.S. government, namely the Department of Homeland Security, and, as the definition states, this department is tasked with not only protecting the country from terrorist attacks, but also with ensuring that the country can spring back to function well in the aftermath of such attacks. Thus, whereas 'policing' refers to a more local or state-wide phenomenon, the concept of 'homeland security' is a bit more national.
The reason why it is important to understand these terms well prior to discussion is because it is very easy to confuse all of them, if one does not know what he or she is speaking about. However, as these terms are all clear now, one can proceed to discussion of how these interrelate, as well as how they are applied now, and what their roles could be in the future.
In order to see how crime and intelligence analysis could be undertaken in the future, one must examine the past utilization of these concepts, as well as their present application, both in the local and national sense. As a first example, it is useful to examine the role of a crime analyst, in the greater field of crime analysis. This is also a good start, for this role is much more local, and much more related to the field of policing. The crime analyst can be seen from a few different perspectives, according to research on this topic.
The first is the crime analyst as the knowledge worker. In this respect, the crime analyst has as his goal to help a police department address both the business and the political side of protecting citizens. In other words, the role of the crime analyst is to facilitate the way a police department runs. With regards to the business aspect of this, a police department must do with what it has, especially since most departments have limited resources. The police department has citizens as its customers and public safety as its product, and just as a business would seek to make profit, so would a police department seek to please its customers and make profit in the metaphorical sense of ensuring safety.
Often times, political pressure is not lacking in police departments, the statistics of which are analyzed at state and local levels, and the resources of which are thereby determined. When one looks at it this way, it seems that policing is quite a complicated game. Thus, the crime analyst can participate in this, and can ease the work of a department by enabling the education of citizens on improvements in public safety and by also informing officers of new and perhaps better way to conduct 'business.'
A crime analyst, in addition to being a 'knowledge worker' as explained above, can also be a researcher. In this role, he must define methodologies and merge identities, as well as make policy. Those these three separate ideas can be construed as different roles, they are a natural outcome of the 'knowledge worker' phase, and will be analyzed together in this section. Because the crime analyst, as part of crime analysis, usually undertakes so many roles, they are naturally expanded through a period of time, which can take months or years. In this time, the analyst can take on any of the four roles. These latter three roles, however, of research, are much more important than the previous, for they are truly what define policy for the department and the force in which the crime analyst works.
Since the role of the individual is so important within the force, it is interesting to see what can happen, for instance, when there are few resources and a lot of violence. In this case, one could assume, the natural projection would be that a crime analyst would most likely be let go, and would be replaced with a stronger police force. Yet in this same case, the community would miss out on the perspectives and the high level of analysis that a crime analyst would bring to the policing 'table.'
For this reason, it would serve a law enforcement agency well to have a crime analyst, as well as to map its needs, so that it can see clearly what needs it must address first. The future of crime analysis, in this respect, is particularly useful, for it can also assess these needs, and obtain information that can later be used for evaluation purposes. This would, in turn, make the agency more efficient. Furthermore, it would provide for baseline measurements, or a "set of measures taken at a particular point in time to which a set of measures taken at later points in time, called evaluation measures, is compared."
These measurements would be the first phase of the analysis, with the evaluation being the last phase. The crime analyst, especially in the future, must be tasked with both of these important steps, in order to evaluate the impact of…