Crime Analysis Center 2406 E. Skipping Rock Way Oro Valley, Arizona 85737 Phone: (520) 219 8144 Fax: (520) 219 8144 E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
Crime Analysis Center - Practical Crime Analysis for Everyone -
Kinds of Data
Crime data comes in many forms so it is important to be specific and know what to ask for in obtaining information about a a particular incident. More than likely, the police reports about the specific incident will already be in the law firm’s possession. If not, with the proper authorization from the victim, they can be obtained for a nominal fee from the records section of the appropriate law enforcement agency.
Information about other crimes at that specific location may also be available in a records section. Law enforcement agencies keep microfilm or computerized data on all of the calls for service received from the public. Records sections typically keep such data sorted by address, victim name and by service number (a unique record identification number). Crime and call data on a specific address or address range (e.g., 311 Main Street or 400 through 1199 Main Street, etc.) can usually be obtained from such sources. Data from the current year and even past years is usually available for a reasonable cost. Data more than a few years old, if available, may require computer programs to be written to access the information since this data is usually archived on computer tape or disk. In such instances, the requesting party will have to pay for any programming and computer processing costs. An “open records request” may be required for such data.
Arrest data can also be valuable in such analyses and may also be available from record sections for a nominal fee. Arrests for public intoxication, prostitution, disorderly conduct are victimless in nature; however, they may be indicative of an unsafe location or area. Names of arrestees are confidential, however, and are excluded from disclosure.
While call, crime and arrest data for a specific location is necessary for case presentation, such data for the area around the crime site is also valuable. Area data may be available by census tract, patrol beat, reporting area (smaller areas comprising beats), or in some agencies with more sophisticated computerized data retrieval systems, by specific distances from a central location (i.e., within a one mile or five mile radius, etc., from any location). Such data can be used for comparison purposes to determine if the area in which the incident occurred is a high crime area. Comparisons can be based on the number of calls, crimes or arrests in the area compared to a city averages for similar sized areas (e.g., crime per patrol beat or reporting area). If available, such comparisons per square mile or per capita are statistically more valid since they eliminate problems associated with the different geographical sizes of most patrol beats, census tracts and reporting areas.