Crime Stoppers

By Vellani, Karim H. | Journal of Property Management, September/October 1999 | Go to article overview

Crime Stoppers


Vellani, Karim H., Journal of Property Management


Analysis is the first step to reducing crime on site.

The act of crime analysis may conjure up images of forensics experts in long white coats or computer crime fighters churning through thousands of records. Yet in its simplest form, crime analysis is the study of crime information to assist in decision making and to enhance crime prevention and security programs. For law enforcement professionals, this analysis may lead to tracking down offenders. For the property manager, crime analysis is the logical examination of crimes that have penetrated a property's preventive plans and the application of revised policies and preventive measures that will hopefully lessen the recurrence of these crimes. In this regard, crime analysis provides a working outline for a crime-prevention program that embodies objectivity, efficiency, and effectiveness.

Crime analysis requires the collection of key crime data to build a documented history of criminal activity on a premises, including the frequency of specific types of crimes, time and date details of each incident, and the risk to the population of the property. This information, in conjunction with security surveys and other relevant data, is used to create or revise a property's crime prevention program. This type of analysis ensures objectivity in decision making and improves the likelihood of crime suppression and the safety of the property's users. Equally advantageous, the crime-analysis function improves a company's reputation and adds to the bottom line. Why Analyze Crime?

The fundamental purpose of crime analysis is to furnish a road map to effective security and crime prevention. More specifically, crime analysis is the basis for reducing crime on a property by aiding in the selection of countermeasures. It is commonly known that one needs the right tool for the job, and the job of crime prevention is no exception. Security measures that respond to a property's actual crime threats are more effective in reducing crime than those measures that react to erroneous crime perceptions or those that are too general to deter specific crime threats.

Management often finds itself the subject of criticism for ineffective and costly security decisions. With crime analysis, emerging crime trends are easily identified and can be thwarted early, justifying security expenditures. In this sense, crime analysis provides a constant evaluation system of the property's crime situation and an evaluation tool to monitor the effectiveness of a crime-prevention program and the specific security measures.

Lastly, crime analysis is used to reduce the liability of the property owner and management company. Potential liability situations often can be avoided if management responds appropriately to its property's crime experience. Negligent or inadequate security cases are much less supportable if management implements reasonable countermeasures for anticipated criminal activity.

Pieces of the Puzzle

Crime analysis is conducted using several sources of data that attempt to provide a reasonably accurate picture of criminal activity on a premises. These data sources include demographic data, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Report (UCR), and security reports from currently existing records of criminal activity. The primary source of crime data is Calls for Service (CFS), which provide the most official and accurate portrayal of crime at a property.

CFS data are usually available from the local police department for a reasonable fee. These data represent criminal activity reported by a victim, witness, or other person to a law enforcement agency. Most law enforcement agencies record the complaint with an incident description, the location from which the complainant reported the incident, and the date and time the incident was reported.

Several factors are noteworthy about CFS and contribute to the data's reliability and use as the primary source for crime analysis. …

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