Making the case for a crime analyst in Annapolis County
By Heather Killen
Crime analysts can help reduce crime rates by better directing police resources, according to RCMP.
RCMP Staff Sgt. John DeWinter is asking the county to approve the addition of a crime analyst in his request to increase RCMP funding. During the November 27 meeting of the police advisory board for Annapolis County, Sheri Bezanson, a crime analyst for the Kings County RCMP, gave an overview of how her position supports the front line officers in Kings County.
She said she tracks and analyzes crime trends in the communities to suggest the most strategic uses of police resources. This position began in Kings County as a pilot project in 2009 and has reduced calls by about eight per cent, she said. The approach keeps track of criminal trends, looking at the past five years, and tracking the various crime rates on a monthly basis.
She also identifies potential drains on the police resources by tracking the calls to determine if there are repeat locations and then determine the root cause.
She said she uses various methods to pinpoint the areas where police can best direct their energy to catch prolific offenders. Crime maps help police determine hotspots for break and enters, or other crimes.
These maps show police where crimes are taking place and where the next offenses are likely to happen. It gives officers a better understanding of where to focus their attention.
Using this approach they can identify the best times and places to set up checkpoints, or make patrols to catch repeat drunk drivers, or break and enter suspects.
She says that she uses criminal timelines to identify possible gaps in criminal investigations so that officers can build stronger cases. She keeps up to date on the research side of the investigations so that officers can concentrate on front-line work.
Bezanson creates and keeps an up-to-date list of prolific offenders, people who are most likely to commit crimes, to help officers better identify suspects who are active in the community.
She says this list is updated regularly to track which individuals are causing the most trouble, and to identify those high-risk offenders who have been released on conditions.
Police can better prioritize their follow-ups with offender monitoring, ensuring that those who have been released back into the community are obeying the conditions of their release.