The main function of the Department's Crime Analysis Unit is to convert data into useful information and get that information to the people who can best use it.
Crime Analysis provides support for a number of department functions, including:
Special and tactical operations
Investigations, crime prevention
One of the most important tasks for Crime Analysts is pattern recognition - searching for crime patterns and sharing the information in the form of alerts, bulletins, and the like. Increasingly, identifying and describing crime patterns is intertwined with the City's GIS (Geographical Information Systems) Unit. GIS can provide mapped 'pictures' of data rather than lists or narrative descriptions.
Crime Analysis can identify crime 'hot spots' - locations where there has been an increase in criminal activity - and assist patrol in targeted deployment of resources.
Analysts also focus on known offenders - parolees, sex registrants, probationers - maintaining databases that allow investigators to search for possible suspects by physical characteristics, modus operandi of past crimes, criminal history, and other known information.