Glossary

3i intelligence-led policing model
A structured model of intelligence-led policing where analysts ‘Interpret’ the criminal environment, ‘Influence’ the thinking of a decision-maker, who in turn has an ‘Impact’ on the criminal environment.
Action-centered leadership
John Adair's model of leadership linking the needs of individuals, the team, and the task.
Age-crime curve
A chart of aggregate anti-social behavior starts in adolescence, peaks around 17 years of age, and declines into adulthood.
Aggregate criminal behavior
While you can always find exceptions, in general criminal behavior tends to occur at broadly predictable times and places and in non-random ways.
Authentic leader
Someone who exhibits a strong degree of self-awareness and is able to examine their own strengths and weaknesses, and possesses a strong team and individual-centered ethical foundation.
Availability bias
The tendency to rely on information that is more recent or observed personally, or more memorable, when making decisions. Also known as the availability heuristic.
Awareness space
Areas familiar to offenders become the locations where they also seek criminal opportunities, and as a result, crime clusters around these places.
Bounded rationality
Offender decision-making that is constrained by time or limited information about risk, or affected by exposure to alcohol or drugs.
CHEERS
A framework to describe and identify the key elements of a problem.
Chronic problem
A long-term crime problem that is often deemed to be unsolvable.
Cognitive loafing
In essence, if people expect to have to justify their views or have their work assessed, they increase their cognitive effort.
Confidential informant
An individual, who, in an arrangement with law enforcement authorities, agrees to serve in a clandestine capacity to gather information for those authorities on suspected criminal activity or known criminal operatives in exchange for compensation or consideration.
Confirmation bias
A cognitive failure that results in our tendency to search for or interpret information in such a way that it confirms our preconceived ideas about a situation.
Confirmation bias
The tendency to cherry-pick information that ratifies our assumptions and beliefs.
Crime attractors
Places that offenders are deliberately drawn to because of the criminal opportunities.
Crime generators
Places that inadvertently create crime opportunities.
Crime hot spots
Crime hot spots are places as small as individual buildings or street corners, blocks or clusters of a few streets, where crime is higher relative to the rest of the area.
Crime panics
Problems that might be crime spikes but may also be driven by media and political concern as much as being a genuine emergence of a crime problem.
Crime pattern theory
Like non-criminals, offenders move regularly between home, school, shopping, bars and so forth, usually for non-criminal journeys. These spaces become the locations where they become aware of or seek criminal opportunities, and as a result crime clusters around these places.
Crime spike
A sudden and often surprising increase in, or appearance of, a crime problem.
Crime spike bias
Crime spike bias happens when chronic issues are relegated in favor of emerging crime problems that are less harmful.
Crime triangle
Shows that a crime problem occurs when an offender interactions with a target or victim at a place.
Developmental and life-course criminology (DLC)
Concerns itself with why people start, continue and then eventually stop, offending. In other words, the onset, persistence, and desistence of offending behavior.
Diffusion of benefits
When the benefits of a crime operation spillover to nearby locations that were not part of the initiative.
Displacement
The idea that if we stop crime in one place, it will just move around the corner.
Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE)
Drug Abuse Resistance Education is a school-based drug use education prevention course taught by police officers in schools. Evaluations have consistently shown that DARE does not reduce the use of alcohol and drugs and is sometimes worse than doing nothing.
Evidence-based policing
In an evidence-based policing approach, police officers and staff create, review and use the best available evidence to inform and challenge policies, practices and decisions.
Focused deterrence
Increases the certainty, swiftness and severity of police interdiction and punishment, by communicating the consequences directly to offenders while also providing motivations to desist from crime.
Ground commander
One point of contact held accountable for the implementation of your VIPER strategies and everyone should know who is assigned.
Guardians
Can protect victims from crime. They can be formal (police officers or security guards) or informal (neighbors or friends).
Handlers
People who can exert a controlling effect on potential offenders.
Harm-focused policing
Weighs the social harms of criminality and disorder with data from beyond crime and antisocial behavior, in order to focus police priorities and resources in furtherance of both crime and reduction.
Hot spots policing
Hot spots policing strategies increase police attention to places with concentrated criminal opportunities.
Illusion of control
A cognitive bias that fools us into thinking we have complete control as to how a situation will unfold at times when we have no control.
Implementation evaluation
See process evaluation
Intelligence gaps
Pieces of information that are currently ‘known unknowns’, but when acquired can enhance your knowledge and possibly lead to a better operational decision.
Koper curve
Researcher Chris Koper examined data from one study and determined that police could maximize their deterrence value by patrolling a crime hot spot for about 15 minutes, randomly every couple of hours. Patrolling longer than 15 minutes saw diminishing returns, and less than 10-15 minutes wasn't effective.
Mission creep
Mission creep occurs when a task or operation gradually grows beyond the bounds of the original goals.
Mission statement
A clear and unambiguous declaration about the outcome or outcomes you want to change.
Natural police
Officers who display a combination of intelligence, calmness, empathy, tenacity, and related social skills.
Near repeat victimization
A form of crime contagion. For example, when a home is burgled, not only is the original house at greater risk for a number of weeks (repeat victimization) but surrounding homes are also at an increased risk for a few weeks.
Outcome evaluation
Examines what success and accomplishments the program generated and will tell you whether you were effective in achieving your goals.
PANDA
A command-driven, problem solving model for crime, harm and disorder concerns.
Partnerships
Positive working arrangements between police and the individuals and organizations in and around the area they service with the aim of solving community problems and improving trust in police.
Place managers
People who live or work at a place and can extend some protection to surrounding areas where crime might occur.
Police legitimacy
A belief that police are entitled to operate in a community and use their authority to preserve social order, resolve conflicts, and solve problems.
Pracademic
People who are both academics engaged in research and publishing, and active police officers.
Prevention mechanism
A prevention mechanism is a theory or idea about how an intervention will reduce or prevent a crime or disorder problem.
Proactive policing
Predominantly police-driven strategies that target activities towards certain places or people. By focusing police investigation on specific individuals or groups, they convey an increased perceived risk of police interdiction should offending occur.
Procedural justice
Procedural justice policing emphasizes the nature of police interactions and how police treat the public during everyday encounters and normal police work. It involves giving the public a voice, acting neutrally, demonstrating trustworthy motives, and treating people with dignity and respect.
Process evaluation
Determines whether program activities have been implemented as intended and if you got the outputs you expected.
Professional expertise
Aggregates the knowledge of a variety of practitioners and emerges from explicit reflection on the outcomes of actions.
Pulling levers strategy
See focused deterrence.
Rational choice perspective
Idea that the decision to commit a crime is a relatively purposive decision based on the offender’s interpretation and weighing of the perceived reward versus the risk.
Regression to mediocrity
Same as regression to the mean. The normal fluctuation of a variable, such as the count of crime. After a crime spike it can often return to its normal level without interference because of regression to the mean (average).
Regression to the mean
The normal fluctuation of a variable, such as the count of crime. After a crime spike it can often return to its normal level without interference because of regression to the mean (average).
Repeat victimization
Cotinued targeting of a person or place. For example, once a home has been the victim of a burglary it has an increased chance of being targeted again for a number of weeks.
Routine activities theory
For a crime to occur, there had to be a convergence of a likely offender, a suitable target, and the absence of a capable guardian.
SARA model
A commonly used problem-solving method comprising ‘Scanning’, ‘Analysis’, ‘Response’ and ‘Assessment’.
SARA-type models
Crime prevention models that are based on the SARA model of problem-solving (see SARA model)
SMART objectives
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.
Scared Straight
Scared Straight is a discredited program that aimed to deter at-risk juveniles from committing crime through prison tours involving confrontational and aggressive presentations by inmates designed to demonstrate the horrors of prison life. Extensive research has shown that the programs increases the likelihood that juveniles in the program will commit offenses in the future.
Seasonality
The regular change in crime rates for some offenses that can be attributed to seasonal changes in weather and hours of daylight.
Signal crimes
The public’s fear of being a victim of crime is not tied to aggregate data or statistics, but instead to certain ‘signal’ crimes or deviant acts that breach not only criminal law but also our conventions about social order.
Situational action theory
A person’s motivation to commit a crime is driven by temptation and/or provocation and tempered by their moral filter.
Social loafing
When people have a shared responsibility and where their individual contribution will not be assessed, they tend to put in less effort.
Strain theory
People are drawn to crime because they do not have access to economic goals and suffer relative deprivation.
Street sources
People who come into contact with police because of their occupations, activities or where they live. They include bar employees, doormen, cab drivers, workers in convenience stores, and even prostitutes.
Tasking
Tasking (either yourself or someone else such as an analyst) involves setting an appropriate analytical question related to an outcome you want to influence.
Transactional leadership
Involves setting goals and using rewards and feedback to drive productivity.
Transformational leadership
Leaders who think about organizational change and are more mission oriented. They are considered more inspirational, exhorting workers to perform beyond normal expectations, achieve more and seek aspirational goals for the benefits of others.
VOLTAGE
A structured approach to analysis that helps make sure you have at least covered some of the basic components necessary to make an informed decision.
Walt Disney
Police officers who—while well-meaning—think they know what going down on the street, but don’t have as much insight as they think.
Wicked problems
Challenging social problems that are ill-formulated and may involve many decision-makers with conflicting values.
Wisdom of crowds
The idea that the aggregated perspective of diverse groups can frequently perform better than any of the individuals in the group.