From No Hope to a Better Life: How Data Impacts Long-Term Results

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Community policing faces many challenges in today’s world. Understanding the problems that people face, figuring out how to solve them, and leveraging available resources to do so present important logistical questions. Many departments simply don’t have the expertise to deal with their most pressing concerns.

IDEA Analytics is partnering with agencies to deal with ongoing problems associated with increased criminal activity. With IDEA Analytics, officials can effectively mitigate crime in targeted areas by leveraging actionable data.

Data and Crime Prevention

Increases in crime are a significant issue that many policing agencies face. However, with modern data collection and analysis capabilities, local, state, and federal agencies can reduce criminal activities and improve safety. 

Law enforcement finally has the edge it needs to target and lessen crime across the country using open source data sources and data mining capabilities.

Police agencies are becoming increasingly aware of the power of data-driven strategies for creating long-term success. By partnering with IDEA Analytics, agencies can build and utilize comprehensive databases for organizing, analyzing, and acting on suspected criminal activities.

Key Metrics for Improving Outreach and Response

IDEA Analytics assists local governments, states, and federal agencies in delivering key analytics for improving their crime prevention strategies.

IDEA Analytics utilizes the SARA methodology,  a data driven approach, to organize and refine its activities. Any data collected during a project can be used for providing solutions, such as local community outreach and victim response services.

SARA: The Problem Solving Model

SARA is an acronym for “scan, analysis, response, and assessment.” The SARA model is a problem-solving method that provides police agencies with a basis for improving their community-led initiatives.

This model of policing can be used for training and real-world applications. It gives police administrators a way to create impactful policies. The SARA model is essential in the development of project-level justifications for funding, resources, and other action-backing capabilities.


To solve a problem, police agencies must first identify the cause of the issue. This analysis means getting an idea of what’s going on and looking at the issue from multiple perspectives to come up with the best solution. By taking stock of the problem and considering available data, agencies can save time and money.


One of the most important steps in solving problems is looking at the root cause and doing research in order to draw accurate conclusions. This analysis involves collecting and processing data with statistical procedures to identify areas of concern. Agencies can employ analysis to find high-risk indexes to target for improvement.


Once the root causes have been identified, it’s time to take action. Agencies must consider which options they have available and take the necessary steps to resolve the problem. This response can take the form of new policies, more resources, or better support. With the right response, policing strategies will have a greater impact.


The final step in the SARA method is to evaluate the success of the response. By assessing the policies and practices that were implemented, how well they worked, and the resources pertinent to their success, agencies develop the institutional insight they need to identify problems and leverage resources to resolve them.

Leveraging Data to Build Relevant Policies

IDEA Analytics relies on valid data points collected from a variety of sources to deliver actionable long-term results to clients. By collecting, analyzing, and using relevant information for policy delivery, agencies can be smart about where they direct their resources. 

With ethical and equitable data collection practices, organizations have access to analytics for better decision-making — including data pulled from:

  • Calls for service
  • Reported crimes
  • Land use and population data 
  • Verified open source sites for businesses (e.g., legitimate, risky) 
  • School data 
  • Nonprofit program data 

Collecting and analyzing data allows law enforcement agencies to determine all factors that impact community problems and potential solutions. Evaluating these data sources  can be used to define and coordinate better crime reduction strategies and community programs.

The Power of Data Informed Policing Models

Thorough analysis performed by IDEA Analytics and its partners can determine the environmental risks for specific crimes at the state, county, and local levels. This allows decision-makers to identify where crime or risks to their community are occurring. 

With data-informed approaches that include environmental and person-centric analysis,  agencies can get a detailed look at what is causing persistent disorder or concerns. Collaborating with local stakeholders (e.g., victim service providers, community groups) ensures ownership and mutual interests are implemented in solutions.

The Limitations of Using Policing Data

All data has limits. Policing data can be limited in three key ways: 

  1. Poor data quality due to entry errors or poor data governance practices 
  2. Police initiatives based on crime patterns may further skew or bias reports of incidents (e.g., DWI enforcement during holidays) 
  3. Priorities over specific types of crime may over/under inflate community concerns

Better Data Management with IDEA Analytics

Police agencies need to invest in data governance practices. IDEA Analytics works to change the capacity of agencies by developing and supporting their leadership, people, and technology strategies. Our partnerships have resulted in improved public safety, transformative youth development programs, and safer communities.

At IDEA Analytics, we combine practice, research, and national experience for local governments that want to create a better world for tomorrow. We’ve successfully implemented short and long-term projects for local and state municipalities across the country. 

Our team brings extensive industry expertise to every project, allowing you to leverage our data insights for measurable results.We offer data-informed results for local governments, public safety, and nonprofits interested in sustainable solutions for all. Contact us here to schedule a consultation with a member of our team.