Proper diagnosis of a problem is vital for effective treatment and so is application-oriented analysis of crime statistics to formulate a holistic strategy on crime prevention.

For the Delhi Police, statistical analysis has in the recent past emerged as a crucial aspect for determining pro-active crime control measures. A case in point is the creation of new police stations and reorganisation of existing ones based on the crime graph of the areas, which according to the police has led to decrease in crime and better handling of complaints. Though a large part of the statistics made public through annual reports involve linear data analysis, a senior police officer says the force today relies heavily on both macro and micro analysis to formulate area specific crime prevention strategies.

“At the police station level, Station House Officers are supposed to evaluate data under various crime heads to determine the nature of staff briefing, deployment and patrolling. Those who do not, fail to check crime. Same is the case with the district heads,” he says.

While the crime data used for analysis is generated primarily during the course of police work, many people believe that the force needs to go beyond the routine to identify the gap areas.

Rajat Mitra of Swanchetan Society for Mental Health says the linear analysis approach can never yield causative factors. “Given the complexity of the crimes taking place in a cosmopolitan city like Delhi, there is a need for multi-factorial analysis to identify the causes.”

“The complexity of crime and the demographic composition of the city warrants a multi-disciplinary approach to arrive at factual conclusions. Such findings can be used to derive effective crime prevention strategies,” says Dr. Mitra. In fact, every police department should have a research and analysis wing comprising experts in the field of criminology, sociology and psychology, he adds.

Statistical analysis is meant for practical application and it throws up both emerging and potential crime trends which eventually helps the police take preventive steps at the initial stage itself.

“For instance, the 2009 crime statistics revealed that about 90 per cent of the accused in murder and snatching cases were found to be first-timers. The alarming finding should form the basis for an in-depth study on how to contain the situation and rehabilitate first-timers. As a large number of youngsters and school drop-outs have also been found indulging in criminal acts, a survey can be taken up at the school level across the city and satellite towns to record instances of violence and deviant behaviour and reasons thereof to ascertain probable causative factors,” suggests a police officer, adding that the findings may provide practical solutions.

The officer also suggests creation of a public-perception index as a yardstick to determine general crime scenario, its impact on citizens, and also the police response and performance. “It will evaluate the present situation and help in taking corrective measures. However, a non-negotiable pre-condition to a realistic analysis is authentic data.”

Devesh K. Pandey