In the crime analysis process, all of the steps are important to the successful conclusion of an investigation. However, among the five steps, analysis is the most crucial and important step, for several reasons. Once the evidence is gathered and collated, it must be carefully analyzed with an eye for evidence that is important to an investigation, as well as to evidence that is extraneous and will need to be discarded. As criminal evidence investigations are often performed at a fast pace, it is at the analysis step where the most can go wrong for an investigation. For instance, if an investigator misinterprets a piece of evidence, it can skew the conclusions of the investigation, and can also cause the evidence to be thrown out at trial (Peterson, 2005). Additionally, analysis of evidence must often be performed by trained specialists, such as forensic analysts or professional crime scene investigators.
Analysis, in the context of criminal investigation, can include several methods of interpreting data, which are investigative analysis, strategic analysis and criminal analysis. As the interpretation of data is such an important aspect of an investigation, it is crucial that the individual who is in charge of the investigation delegate the responsibilities to the correct individual(s). If any of the evidence is misinterpreted, this can be disastrous for the overall investigation, and lead to the entire case being rejected for trial, in which instance the previous steps of collection and collation will have been a complete waste of time for the law enforcement personnel involved. Further, poor analysis of evidence collected for a criminal investigation can lead to the wrong individual being arrested and/or convicted of a crime (Ribaux et al, 2006). Thus, the analysis step of the crime analysis process is the most delicate, labor intensive, and important part of a criminal investigation, and deserves great scrutiny.
- Peterson, M. (2005). Intelligence Led-Policing: The New Intelligence Architecture. Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Assistance.
- Ribaux, O., Walsh, S.J., & Margot, P. (2006). “The contribution of forensic science to crime analysis and investigation: Forensic intelligence.” Forensic Science International 156 (2), 171-181.