Crime Analysis and LPR

Crime analysis is required in order to implement almost any evidence-based policing strategy. Drawing on ideas of problem-oriented policing and prediction, crime analysis can use data to better direct patrol and investigations and increase the effectiveness of crime prevention efforts. Indeed, the term “proactive” policing implies the use of data and analysis to identify crime-generating places, people, and situations.

Thus, crime analysis is at the core of effective LPR patrol deployment. For example, if LPR is being used to detect autotheft, stolen tags, or motor verhicle violations, analysts can develop accurate maps using geographic information systems technology to direct officers to specific places to patrol to maximize their deterrent and preventative effect. Analysts might also support investigative units by using database analytic technologies to quickly sort through LPR data to assist with locating suspect of interest.

Crime analysis is also important to LPR deployment because successful problem solving depends on regular assessment and refinement of the deployment strategies. Analysts can play a key role in evaluating whether or not LPR use by an agency has yielded measurable effects on crime reduction (not just increasing crime detection). These regular assessments are useful in changing LPR deployment, if necessary, to improve its effectiveness. A detailed description of how we conducted one type of LPR hot spots evaluation can be found in Chapter 3 of our 2010 Report. More information on the current evaluations being conducted by the LPR research team is located here.

Finally, analysts often are the link between operational units and research evidence. Analysts can serve as an information source for supervisors and commanders about effective uses for and ideas about deployment of LPR according to findings of data and analysis. See our deployment portal for more information.