The Harford County Sheriff's Office is organized into various interrelated components. As the agency continues to grow, the efficient flow of information is imperative. Intelligence generated internally or received from sources external to the organization must be disseminated to the appropriate shifts and units, depending upon their responsibilities. The combined efforts of these various elements must be coordinated so that the members of the Sheriff's Office remain focused upon serving the needs of all citizens. Crime Analysis is at the heart of this system.
Imagine this scenario: Unknown suspects commit a series of robberies and burglaries spanning six patrol sectors. Little or no physical evidence is left at the scenes. The robbery investigations are divided between two detectives from the Criminal Investigation Bureau, as no obvious links exist between the crimes. The burglaries are divided among several patrol deputies, the Mid-level Investigative Unit, and the Criminal Investigation Bureau, depending upon the amount of loss associated with each crime. Copies of each report are forwarded to the Crime Analyst who plots the location of these crimes and many others on a special map. A study is conducted comparing each crime to others committed in the general area. The analyst observes that a car was stolen or a previously stolen car was abandoned in the vicinity of several robberies and burglaries. A closer examination reveals that many of these crimes appear to be linked by the time of day and days of the month when committed. The Crime Analyst documents these findings and disseminates this information to the appropriate supervisors in the Patrol Division and the Criminal Investigation Bureau. A meeting is held between the patrol deputies, Robbery, Burglary, and Auto Theft Unit detectives assigned to each of the cases in question. Utilizing a team approach, the deputies and detectives investigate the link between these cases. They determine that many of the stolen cars abandoned near the scenes of burglaries and robberies were stolen from a neighborhood located in eastern Baltimore County. The team from the Harford County Sheriff's Office shares this information with detectives from the Baltimore County Police Department. A subsequent joint investigation between both departments leads to a group of crack cocaine addicts, resulting in multiple arrests.
Deputies and detectives do an outstanding job of investigating hundreds of crimes each year, in addition to fulfilling many other responsibilities. The Crime Analyst allows members of the agency to see the "big picture," and thus provides a greater opportunity to employ proactive crime solving tactics. The analyst is equipped with the latest technology and trained to apply systematic processes to achieve the following responsibilities:
- Recognize and map crime patterns and trends to assist law enforcement
- Determine areas with potential for criminal activity
- Compile, analyze and disseminate information and intelligence involving criminal activity
- Collect and research data necessary to monitor trends, patterns and changes in various elements of society which impact quality and delivery of services to the community
- To provide quarterly and annual statistical reports