The act of taking an individual’s’ money or property with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the individual of such articles, while using force, violence, assault, or instilling fear is considered robbery in the state of Florida. (Florida Statute 812.13) Since 1994 policing agencies in the state of Florida have seen a rapid decrease in the number of robbery crimes committed. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (2015) reported a significant decrease of 59 percent in violent crimes from 1994-2014. Furthermore, the FDLE (2015) reported 21,576 robberies in 2014 compared to 45,263 robberies in 1994. Recently there has been an increase in the number of daytime robberies in the area and law enforcement has very limited information about each robbery. As a hired consultant I will be drawing up an investigative plan to address the crimes.
The investigation of crime encompasses the collection of information and evidence for identifying, apprehending, and convicting suspected offenders. (Osterburg &Ward, 2010) As we analyze patterns and trends in crime, the investigator must follow specific investigative steps that can be utilized to identify the source and how to approach the deviant acts. The following investigative steps will be implemented when addressing the robberies in City X. The steps are:
- Review police reports from all jurisdictions
- Re-interview witnesses identified in police reports
- Review forensic evidence collected from the crime scenes
- Review video collected from surveillance cameras captured from the crime scenes.
- Review tactical analysis from policing agencies that are within the city’s jurisdictions to identify similarities of all reported bank robberies.
- Synthesize the data for review and organize by specific characterized detail such as the recorded time of day, location of robbery, and the MO of the criminal.
- Utilizing crime mapping resources and map the offenses.
- Reach out to other agencies in the area to request additional manpower. Make a determination based on responses.
- Collect data from policing agencies in the surrounding cities to decipher any increases in robbery in their areas.
- Review zones, population changes, and new or sold businesses that could be contributing to the rise in robberies.
By effectively utilizing the investigative steps the investigator has the ability to reconstruct the past and prepare their cognitive mind in order to perceive the clues or hints to work through the investigation. (Osterburg &Ward, 2010) The investigative steps will also lead to developing strategical plans that will allow the agency to effectively utilize available resources.
Law Enforcement personnel increasingly rely on technology to perform everyday duties not limited to investigative purposes. During the investigation process used technology identifies and characterizes biological data and processes digital evidence. During the investigation of the robberies in city X investigators will utilize new tools brought on by technological advances that go beyond a keyboard and computer screen. Investigators will utilize footage collected from surveillance and traffic cameras from the crime scenes in order to collect and compare details that lead to a description of the suspects in the crimes and identify any similarities. Traffic cameras have been highly effective in solving crimes and assisting authorities in identifying criminals, vehicles, and track the whereabouts of suspects. (Territo, 2013) During the investigation process it will be vital to collect fingerprints and other forensic evidence that can be analyzed. Crime scene analysts will collect fingerprints from the crime scenes using a vapor wand or laser. Once analyzed the fingerprints are uploaded to the Combined DNA Information system or CODIS to be shared with other agencies. Investigators can assess this database to view forensic evidence collected by other agencies in an effort to decipher a connection or pattern in the crimes. Crime mapping is another tool that will provide analysts with data supporting the relationship of the crime in city X with surrounding areas. By imputing linear data provided analysts can utilize the Geographical Information Software or GIS and create complex mapping data.
Analyzing the Pattern of Robbery Activity
In an effort to analyze the pattern of robbery crimes in city X. investigators can utilize the SARA method. “SARA is a relatively straightforward process that involves scanning your area of responsibility for problems, conducting a reasonably in-depth analysis of the source of the problem and resources available to assist with the problem’s solution, designing and implementing a response to the problem, and assessing the effectiveness of your solution. (Foster, 2005) In the case or the robberies in city X investigators will follow the steps of the SARA method. The first step is identifying the problem, in this case the increase in robberies in the area and gathering raw data. The data will be collected from police reports and tactical reports of city X and surrounding jurisdictions. The policing agency will need to examine statistical data and police reports for the area and go back at least five years to decipher how much of a change has been experienced involving the specific crime.
As the analyst is working the case data will need to be synthesized and data not relevant to the case needs to be removed in order to look at the fine details of the robberies. During this process the investigator will review the police reports and conduct interviews with any witnesses listed in the robbery reports, forensic evidence will be reviewed and reexamined to ensure nothing was missed, footage from surveillance and traffic cameras will be reviewed in an effort to collect details that may have been missed during the initial analysis. Statistics will be reviewed to determine and manage the percentage of change in robbery crimes. Analysts can arrange data from all robbery reports and sort them by jurisdiction, type of robbery, time of day, and MO to make it easier to separate the data needed for the case. This data will aide analysts in determining a solution to the robberies. Investigators can easily connect the crimes of city X and surrounding cities as the data shows an increase in robberies along a common highway that runs through all of the cities. Collected data reflects rapid growth in the city and population has tripled within the last five years. Robberies have mostly been reported at gas stations along the highway and occur during nonpeak hours between 10:00am and 2:00pm when traffic is slow and civilians are at work. Analysts conclude it would be highly effective to increase patrol in these areas and maintain police presence throughout the surrounding communities in an effort to mitigate criminal activity and bring some order to the city.
To effectively implement the strategical plan cooperation between several investigative units is needed. The investigative units that will be utilized include: the investigative division of the policing agency in city X and surrounding jurisdictions, crime analysis team, forensics team, street cops and patrol officers in all jurisdictions, detectives, and squads that are specifically trained to handle robbery investigations. The policing agencies of the cities affected by the rise in robberies may also consider hiring additional patrol officers in order to control the criminal activity.
Supplies, Equipment, and Funding
The investigative plan requires the use of specific equipment in order to complete the evaluation of the identified problem. Analysts will need access to computers and crime mapping software such as GIS software, database software such as CODIS and an internal database for police reports. Crime scene technicians will need access to a vapor wand or laser to collect fingerprints on scene and lab technicians will need access to the Automated Fingerprint Identification System Database. It will be highly effective for the analysts to have a video player in order to review the footage collected from the surveillance and traffic cameras. Our newly hired officers will require a need for patrol cars and training. New databases and equipment require funds. Policing agencies must apply for funding through grants that are supplied by the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice houses grants for over 13,000 agencies and will determine if there is a definite need for funding and once approved will allocate the funds to the department.
Effective crime analysis in law enforcement relies on accurate and organized data. In order to effectively address the problem and implement a solution for the crimes analysts must follow an acute plan and work with an investigative team comprised of many different departments. When the data is analyzed and synthesized an effective solution can be enforced to decrease criminal activity in a particular area. An investigative plan is imperative to rendering a successful solution and can be a complex process. This report has drafted an extensive investigative plan for city X in response to an increase in robbery crimes and concludes there is imminent need for increased patrol in the city and surrounding jurisdictions.
Robbery. (2010). Retrieved July 24, 2015, from http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2010/812.13
Florida Department of Law Enforcement. (2015, February 1). Retrieved July 25, 2015, from http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Content/FSAC/Menu/Crime-Trends/Violent-Crime.aspx
Osterburg, J., & Ward, R. (2010). Criminal investigation: A method for reconstructing the past (6th ed.). Cincinnati, Ohio: Anderson Pub.
Foster, R. (2005). Police technology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.