nick gives an example of how one might properly analyse data. department-wide data usually are not very helpful. the devil — and the opportunity for improvement — are in the details, in crosstabs, in demographics, in ……
gross averages hide more than they reveal.
imagine police departments that had crime analysts, or analysts of any sort, who had the statistical and scientific chops to collect and crunch the numbers in a meaningful way instead of in a way intended to garner (or combat) headlines.
of course, that would require a lot of imagination. few chiefs can afford to hire such folks. but wouldn’t it be interesting if analysis were to supplant politicized and uninformed argument?