Are You Getting in the Way of Your Own Analysis?

May 25, 2012 in Blog by Tiana Antul

It’s the life of a crime analyst. The tedious and never-ending daily process of reviewing incidents and cleaning data (akin to dirty laundry, despite fervent strides to whittle it down there’s inevitably a new abundance of it greeting you each day, silently mocking you). The reports we run regularly to support CompStat style meetings, crime watch group meetings, grants, and the like. The technical support we often lend within our departments because, for some unknown reason, people assume that when you do crime analysis you’ll also know how to fix their infected laptop, the jammed copy machine, and the broken printer in the cell room. And it just wouldn’t be a normal day for any crime analyst without at least one unexpected (and almost always urgent) request for data from one of the various units within your police department, an outside agency, or the public. These requests take time, sometimes requiring several hours to build a query and pair your results with a nice chart or analytical summary. The requester is unlikely to understand the data and therefore has no realistic idea as to the amount of time and work involved in meeting their request. And then there are all the emails, phone calls, and meetings…

If you feel like you’re constantly chasing your tail then chances are you’re prioritizing things in such a way that you’re getting in the way of your own analysis work. It’s a common pitfall for crime analysts and can put a serious cramp in how good you feel about your career. So let’s take a moment to take stock of our priorities and highlight four things that should top that list.

1. Data Quality and Analytical Integrity. The GIGO adage is a permanent fixture in the world of crime analysis, and for a good reason. Nothing you prepare, no matter how nice it looks, it worth anything unless there’s good quality data behind it. In fact it’s downright irresponsible to provide your department with information that was gleaned from an analysis of uncleaned data. So take the task of data cleaning seriously and make it your daily religion.

2. Skill building. This should also be one of your top priorities. Dedicate some time each week to becoming more proficient in some area of your work. Whichever area of your work you tend to avoid (maybe it’s Microsoft Access, or ArcGIS) is probably a good place to start. Challenge yourself with something as simple as learning how to create a new type of chart in Excel or something slightly more involved like learning a new mapping technique. Not only will you love the sense of achievement, but it’s less stressful to learn these things on your own time than under the pressure of when something needs to get done. Proficiency will also shorten the amount of time it takes you to complete your work and improve the overall quality of your work. There’s no way around it; to become proficient you must have exposure and you need to practice.

3. Automation. How many times have you thought to yourself, “I know I should really automate this, but I just can’t find the time to do it.”? If you can’t seem to find the time, chances are something less important, like responding to emails or special requests, is getting in the way. Start by automating just one regular task. When you realize the amount of time and aggravation it saves you, you’ll want to keep going! It’s also a great way to put an end to that “chasing your tail” feeling.

4. Make Nice. You’re not going to like everyone in your department. We’re only human. But a pleasant attitude and a smile can go a long way to make your job and your life a lot easier. Officers are more likely to appreciate you and your work. They’re more likely to approach you for analytical support. They might be more willing to share information with you. They’re more likely to be understanding of the challenges you face in your work. They’ll probably be more willing (even happy?) to give you assistance when you need something from them. It’s all around a good thing.

So take a moment to evaluate how you spend your average work day. If you’re constantly putting out fires and struggling to find time for analysis, slow down and shift your focus to things that will help your long-term goals, not the short term goals of others. You’ll feel more in control, have fewer crises to deal with, be better equipped to deal with real crises when they do arise, have more time for analysis, and minimize your stress.

Missing to Trafficking: Connections Between the Missing Child and Sex Trafficking

May 10, 2012 in Blog by Kate Curtis-Bozio

Free Webinar!

May 25th commemorates National Missing Children’s Day. On this day, the Department of Justice, public agencies, and private organizations gather in communities throughout the country to renew their commitment to find missing children, celebrate heartwarming stories of recovery, and honor those whose tragic loss remains in our hearts and memories.

In recognition of Missing Children’s Day and its associated activities, the Missing and Exploited Children’s Program (MECP) has partnered with the AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program to increase awareness for missing children and child trafficking victims.

This webinar presentation will demonstrate the correlation and commonalities between the unknown missing child, chronic runaway, repeat victims of sexual abuse, abducted children, and the child victimized through sex trafficking. Participants will be provided with information regarding the dynamics of child sex trafficking, cumulative risk factors and how these affect the child. Panelists will provide participants information on developing community responses to effectively respond to and provide services for this vulnerable population.

Date: Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Time: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT

Cost: Free

Space is limited!

Register NOW!!!!!

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by MACA15

The Analysts Role in Officer Safety

April 26, 2012 in Blog, News by MACA15

 

We had an interesting talk about officer safety at this months MACA meeting in Leominster. The topic of discussion revolved around a recent FBI report that showed that while most serious crimes are down across the country, the number of police officers killed in the line of duty has gone up.

This story on CBS News discusses this alarming trend and how we have recently been hit close to home by one of these tragedies. You may recognize John Miller from his excellent presentation at our 2010 conference.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57413954/number-of-police-officer-deaths-growing/

Our discussion came about because our outstanding VP of Administration Tiana Antul had seen this report (Not this same news story but a similar story about this report) and sent an e-mail to the board regarding how this report made her feel and how it was so relevant to our upcoming conference and keynote speaker, Marcus Young.

We all decided that while there is a possibility that doing good analysis may be putting our officers at increased risk that we all have to continue doing the best we can to provide important tactical information to our officers and look at other things we can do to make them safer.

I would like to share some resources that you can mention in your bulletins and I hope that you will pass along these free resources and some training announcements to your officers and tactical instructors.

I also hope that you will check out these resources yourself and think about ways in which we can further enhance officersafety within all of our jurisdictions. If you have anything you would like to add to this conversation please share on the MACA-L.

 

The FBI LEOKA Officer Safety Program

 

This training will be offered for free at the following locations on the following dates:

 

May 2—Natick PD

May 10—Canton PD

May 31—Cohasset PD

June 5—Bentley U

June 14 Salem PD

June 21 Woburn PD

June 22 Dracut PD

 

Officers only need to contact Kevin Donnelly to sign up for this excellent free class -kevin.m.donnelly@state.ma.us

 

*Of course, we will be offering the same free training at the MACA conference on Thursday, May 17 from 1 to 5 p.m. Our instructor will be Marcus Young, who personally survived a deadly encounter during a "routine" arrest. We will have more information on our website at www.macrimeanalysts.org

 

Valor for Blue

The Valor Project is designed to enhance officer safety. They have free resources on their website and are currently touring the country to give training.

http://www.valorforblue.org/

 

Calibre Press

Calibre Press has an excellent newsletter that all officers should subscribe to. They have been the leaders in officer survival training for 3 decades now with their Street Survival Seminar and their 3 Masterpiece books on the topic.

The Street Survival Newsline newsletter is free - http://www.calibrepress.com/

 

- Below 100

Another free resource that I forgot to mention is the Below 100 Initiative. The idea of Below 100 is to keep LODD's under 100 officers per year. I have printed out all of these free posters and hung them up on all of our training bulletin boards:

 

 

Force Science

Force Science is the cutting edge in research on officer involved shootings and use of force incidents. The Force Science Newsletter is free and the information it provides is excellent.

http://www.forcescience.org/

 

I have been getting this newsletter from the beginning and I think that what they are doing is so important that I reached out to them repeatedly asking them to hold a class in the Northeast. They finally agreed if I could find a way to host it and fund it. So, for only $200 officers from all over New England can attend this excellent two day program.

Every police department should have key officers within their organizations that understand Force Science.http://www.forcescience.org/

This class will be instructed by Chris Butler and Doctor Bill Lewinski. Dr. Lewinski is the founder of Force Science and this is a rare opportunity to see him here in the Northeast.

 

This training is important for all police officers but it is absolutely essential for:

- Use-of-Force Instructors

- Accreditation Managers

- Firearms Instructors

- Internal Affairs Investigators

- Union Officials

- Union Attorneys

 

To register for the Force Science course in Burlington on June 28 and 29 go here: http://www.bpd.org/force-science

 

Please share these resources with your training officers and decision makers in your organization.

 

-Glen Mills

 

 

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by MACA15

Welcome

February 9, 2012 in Blog, News by MACA15

Welcome to the new website for the Massachusetts Association of Crime Analysts. This section will be used to announce new initiatives, partnerships and programs.