When someone is murdered in Guatemala, police, forensic doctors and government prosecutors start making their way to the crime scene and a creaky, antiquated 20th century bureaucratic machine kicks into gear. Calls are made. Forms are filled out by hand, or typed into computers, or both. Some of these forms go into paper files. Others go into computer files. Some of them are summarized and sent to headquarters. Others remain at precinct or even sub-precinct level. As will become evident, much of it is quickly buried amidst a pile of papers that will literally fade with time, or within a computer file, which will most likely be erased or lost by the next person who has that job.

Most of those involved do not question the system that processes these cases. They are boxes to check off in a day full of seemingly meaningless tasks that lead to little real results as it relates to the investigations of these homicides. The impunity rate for homicides in Guatemala is near 95 percent, according to International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (Comisión Internacional contra la Impunidad en Guatemala – CICIG).[1] The fruitlessness of this exercise is palpable inside these processing offices where papers are routinely lost, computer files are destroyed or erased, and file cabinets, instead of being tidy and dust free, are filled with Tabasco and soy sauce.

*This article is part of an investigation exploring the challenges and lessons of disaggregating gang-related and drug trafficking-related murders in Guatemala. Read the other chapters of the investigation and the full report.

From the outside looking in, the way this information is processed has its logic. There are rules, which are seemingly followed, about who receives the information and how it should be archived or passed on to other entities. In this sense, the system works. But there is a tremendous amount of information that is lost along the way. And the inability of the police and the MP to create a unified database so that they can better analyze this information could be inhibiting their ability to solve more crimes and analyze crime patterns.

In order to help understand how this system works, where there are major interruptions, gaps and outright failures, we broke the system down piece by piece, with a special focus on police information and data, since that is where we had the greatest access. We also visited each part of the chain of communication and have pored through hundreds of pages of the actual reports. Below is a step-by-step illustration of this process (See Figure 9), followed by a more detailed account, and the problems associated with each step. Its primary focus was regarding information the police obtained and processed, but it includes elements of information collection in other institutions, principally the MP at the investigative stage.

Phase I: The Crime Scene

(1a) Call center 110 hotline, at National Civilian Police (PNC) headquarters, receives emergency calls.

When someone is murdered in Guatemala, the normal way for this information to arrive to the police is by calling 1-1-0. This goes to a call center. The operator there collects information from the caller and radios or calls operators responsible for receiving information for the precinct in which the murder occurred. There are 26 precincts in Guatemala.

InSight Crime found that working conditions are lacking at the call center and the office space for operators assigned to each precinct. Close to half of the police officers receiving calls, dispatching police units to crime scenes, or covering other citizen security emergencies, work in an office space with no windows or ventilation and poor light.

The head of the 110 call center supervises the office from a work space with three desks (two of them for the assistants), enclosed by glass. Neither the lights or the air conditioning were working when we visited. The office manager told InSight Crime that the office has no budget for these repairs.

This impacts performance. The heat is nearly unbearable. What’s more, the only light in the supervisor’s office comes from the computer screens and an oversized monitor where they record the preliminary stats of the day per department from different parts of the country.

(1b) Precincts can also receive information directly and send a unit to the crime scene.

There are two ways precincts can receive information directly: cameras in the precinct’s district (when available) alert the police to crimes in progress, or people can call the precinct’s direct emergency line. Once the precinct operator receives the call, the operator dispatches a unit to the crime scene. The security cameras, however, are monitored by police, who dispatch units from the closest police sub-station or patrol station when they observe a crime.

Unfortunately, the camera system for Zona 18, one of the most crime-ridden and homicidal areas in the country, is no longer working. In 2013, the Interior Ministry hired a private company to install the cameras and feed the footage to a control room in Precinct 12. According to an officer from the precinct, 60 police officers — rotating in teams of 20 — manned the control room 24 hours a day.

However, in October 2015, the company providing the service ceased to provide the camera footage or the signal to the control room because the ministry stopped paying for the service.[2] In March 2016, President Jimmy Morales re-inaugurated the control room, but four months later, the cameras are still not operational and all 60 officers that were assigned to monitoring were reassigned to regular patrol units in other precincts around the country. The control room sits empty, except for the oversized TV monitors, desks and chairs arranged in a semi-circle. The room still runs its air conditioner and is lit all day in case someone wants to use it for a meeting.

(2) From the call center, the information is sent to an operator in charge of the precinct closest to crime scene.

At PNC headquarters, there are teams of operators for each police precinct. Once the 110 operator registers the exact location of the crime scene, the operator sends the information to an operator of the corresponding precinct via telephone or radio. The precinct operator dispatches a police unit to the crime scene. The operators assigned to each precinct are familiar with the area that the precinct covers and are better able to direct the police unit to the crime scene location.

Each operator then generates the first piece of data: a preliminary report of emergencies covered throughout the day. It is preliminary because, for instance, they might report that a person was wounded in a shootout, but if by the end of the day the victim dies, the official police report must update this information to reflect that it became a homicide. If, however, the victim dies two or more days later, the police statistics will not reflect it as a homicide. In contrast, this will be registered by the Attorney General’s Office (Ministerio Público – MP) and the coroner’s office (Insituto Nacional de Ciencias Forenses – INACIF) as a homicide.

The discrepancies between the numbers of homicides registered by these institutions does not end there. Police are also known to register homicides as suicides or drownings. This is due to lack of information at the scene of the crime, poor training, inexperience, or corruption. INACIF and the MP will later change these designations, but they will not be changed in the police data. The differences in how these entities register data leads to strange year-end statistical anomalies in which the police will register more homicides than the MP in some areas and less in others.

(3) Operator dispatches a police unit from corresponding precinct to the crime scene.

The police cordon off the crime scene and look for evidence, which includes footage from surveillance cameras, bullet fragments and/or shell casings, personal items belonging to the perpetrator or victim. The police also interview the victim’s relatives, if there are any present, as well as neighbors or potential witnesses.

Cordoning off the area is important because, in some cases, the prosecutor can take several hours to get to the crime scene. According to an official at the MP in Guatemala City, this is due to a lack of resources; the MP often has but one evidence collection unit per zone or jurisdiction. If a homicide is reported in one area, and another is reported at the opposite extreme of the jurisdiction, there can be long lag time between crime scene sweeps. Add even more time if there is traffic.

Police also have trouble getting to crime scenes. This is, in part, due to lack of functional vehicles. Nationwide, of 4,500 patrol vehicles, only 500 are in working condition.[3] This is related to the large and complicated geographic areas they often have to cover. For instance, Precinct 12 (Comisaría 12), the area we chose to do our case study since it covers Zona 18, covers five of what are called zones in Guatemala City (6, 17, 18, 24, 25), and two counties outside of the city (San Pedro Ayampuc and San José El Golfo). The topography of the area sometimes makes it difficult to reach a crime scene quickly, reach suspects or potential witnesses, due to the distance and radius that they need to cover.

Precinct 12 has 1,080 police, of which approximately 900 are on duty (the rest are on leave) divided in shifts of 150 each, and distributed among the precinct and 17 substations and patrolling stations. The precinct has 61 police patrol vehicles and 31 motorcycles, as well as 33 bicycles. According to the precinct’s chief, of the 92 vehicles and motorcycles it has, 31 were not working when we visited the precinct in May 2016, due to lack of funds to repair them and purchase spare parts. The vehicles that work are assigned a maximum of seven gallons of fuel per day. Until January 2016, they were assigned only two gallons per day.

These vehicles are used for operational and bureaucratic purposes. Since internet service is so poor on the precinct level, for example, the 12th Precinct often uses a vehicle to hand deliver correspondence or paper versions of the daily crime reports, among other things.

In the municipality of Chiquimula (of the department that carries the same name), our other case study area, the situation is worse. Officials say one third of the vehicles need repairs.

(4) MP instructs PNC to identify physical evidence, collect witness interviews, security camera footage.

The prosecutor arrives at the scene with a crime scene analysis unit, checks the evidence located by the police, and further scans the area for more findings. The prosecutor also conducts interviews with witnesses. MP representatives told InSight Crime they do not trust information given to the police, particularly to those in uniform. This lack of trust, MP personnel told us, is related to the long-standing reputation the police have for being compromised and corrupted, especially in high crime areas where we focused our research. Thus, the MP claims to conduct their own interviews in the field. However, files at the MP shows that the MP relies heavily on interviews conducted by police detectives from the Criminal Investigation Specialized Division (División Especializada en Investigación Criminal – DEIC), police testimonies collected at the crime scene, and information gathered by the police during the course of the investigation.

After they finish their initial inspection and interviews, the MP authorizes the transportation of the deceased body to the morgue for an exam by the coroner’s office (INACIF), as well as the collection and processing of all evidence.

Phase II: The Investigation

(5a) PNC writes a crime report.

Upon leaving the scene, the PNC generates its second piece of data in the form of preliminary crime reports. Over time, these reports have improved. What used to be scratched out by hand by a police officer is now typed into a computer by someone known as the “oficinista,” whose primary task it is to enter this information into the computer in a more concerted manner. If that person is not available, then the responding officer may do this job. If there is no computer, then the responding officer will write the report by hand. If the responding officer does not have time to come back to the precinct or substation, the information is given over the phone. But in all cases, a general format is followed.

The first part of that format is a general description of the events, as the responding officer understands them. This always includes who were the responding officers, the representatives of the MP and INACIF. It often includes vital data about the cars that were seen in the area, license plates, cameras in the area, and other information that could be critical in solving the case. Secondly, the responding officer gives all of the information obtained about the victim, including address, ID and other identifying features such as what the victim looks like, what the victim was wearing, etc. Third, the responding officer gives information about the crime scene itself: where the body was found, what injuries are clearly visible, the evidence that was found, and the potential cause of death. Fourth, the responding officer gives an overview of the interviews that were done on the scene. Finally, the responding officer can offer a “preliminary investigation” and even a hypothesis regarding the case.

The report is printed and several copies are made. One copy goes to a local file, another to the prosecutor, and another to PNC headquarters. This should be easy, except it is not. Precinct 12, like many others, does not have internet. (The precinct’s chief also does not have a computer on his desk; he has to use one in any of the other offices.) This makes each computer in the precinct basically an island. The information is generally stored haphazardly either on a hard disk or on a USB drive, which is then often moved to another computer to print.

The paper filing system also does not follow any clear pattern. In the two precincts where we did our research, the files were mixed up and stuffed into whatever space was available in seemingly completely random fashion. In Precinct 12, this included having files on two different floors of the same precinct. In Chiquimula, the files were stuffed in no particular order into a closet with shelves that were dusty and rotting.

The utility of this preliminary report has been questioned inside the system. Many police think it is just paperwork, an exercise in futility. And one prosecutor told InSight Crime they are “useless” for the criminal investigation because the prosecutors conduct their own investigations.

SEE ALSO: Full Report on Homicides in Guatemala

However, some disagree with this assessment, including those of us who have gone through hundreds of these reports.[4] One police official in headquarters told InSight Crime the reports are used as backup for police detectives investigating the case, usually at the request of the Attorney General’s Office or the prosecutor. And a high level Interior Ministry official said that the information could be used for multiple purposes, not just the crime scene investigation. This includes using it for analyzing the dynamics of the violence as well as better understanding criminal groups in those areas.

“Everything is in there,” the official said. “Everything. We could analyze modus operandi, type of victims, the type of criminals. We could understand a ton about criminal dynamics.”

“I am sure they write the report, then print it and file it,” said the ministry official, who worked for years trying to unify and utilize the data from the various crime-fighting agencies. “The next report they will simply write it in the same document as if it were a rough draft. And then they print that and file it. And then the next one they just write right on top of that one.”

In addition to the information that is ignored regarding criminal dynamics, the report represents a tremendous amount of time and effort towards resolving the case. This includes names of witnesses, if there were cameras in the area, makes and models of cars, as well as license plates, etc. But that too appears to be lost or go unused for several reasons. To begin with, if either the hard disk or the USB are damaged on which the information is stored, the report’s electronic edition might be lost forever.

This is not conjecture. In both Precinct 12 and Chiquimula, police responsible for this information were unable to produce it in digital form. In Precinct 12, they said this was because the old computer that stored the information had gotten a virus and all the information was destroyed with the purge of the system that followed. In Chiquimula, they said there was a tradition of erasing whatever your predecessor had left on the computer that was designated to you. Even worse, in some places they simply write one report over the other.

“I am sure they write the report, then print it and file it,” said the ministry official, who worked for years trying to unify and utilize the data from the various crime-fighting agencies. “The next report they will simply write it in the same document as if it were a rough draft. And then they print that and file it. And then the next one they just write right on top of that one.”

It was not just the digital version that was at risk. The printed material was also lost in some cases. InSight Crime researchers pored through file cabinets, closets, and plastic and paper boxes trying to find all the crime reports for the various precincts and substations in Zona 18 for the period between 2013 and 2015, without success. The police on hand said that the folders had been misplaced when they moved from one office to another. In Chiquimula, the folders were buried in a back closet, mixed with folders from up to a decade earlier, which InSight Crime had to fish out and thumb through (with the help, it should be noted, of two very dutiful and diligent oficinistas).

But even finding the printed material does not ensure that the information is safe. Some substations that are part of Precinct 12 fax the reports to the head precinct office. Copies are also often generated at the substation level using carbon paper. Both fax copies and carbon paper copies fade with time, especially when they are being stored in hot, dusty, enclosed areas.

One master copy of the report is sent to the PNC headquarters, but if this good copy is lost, and the other copies of the reports are on fax or carbon paper, there is a good chance the information will be lost forever. The police have tried to resolve these issues in various ways. One officer said that Precinct 12 received a donation of scanners to cut down on printing documents and expedite sending documents via email. However, the scanners are designed for letter-sized documents, and most of their documents are legal-sized, so the scanners are useless for the most part. They also do not have money to maintain printers.

(5b) The coroner inspects the body to determine the cause of death and generates a report.

The coroner inspects the body and corresponding evidence. If the body was found wrapped in any kind of material, for instance, it will be transported as such, and the first ones to examine it will be INACIF analysts. INACIF is also responsible for ballistics. If a gun was found, they can determine whether the shell casings found in the body were fired by the same gun, or if the victim was cut with a blade found on a suspect or at the crime scene.

The coroner generates a report regarding the cause of death. This report can possibly confirm whether or not there is a match between evidence found at the crime scene and wounds inflicted on the victim. Ballistics evidence that is gathered makes for an additional report. All reports are sent in physical form to the prosecutor.

(5c) The prosecutor begins gathering, generating information.

The prosecutor in the case begins to build the case file. That case file is in both digital and paper form. All of the reports generated before this process begins, including photos taken at the scene of the crime, the responding officer’s crime scene report and the INACIF autopsy, are in paper form and go in the physical file. Other reports, such as whatever comes from the ballistics exam (INACIF), the arms registry database (DIGICAM), the identity database (RENAP), the police’s investigative unit (DEIC), also fill the physical file. The prosecutor has to request this data, and there are often long delays.

For the digital files, the MP uses a program called the Integrated Case System (Sistema Integrado de Casos – SICOM). It is filled with interviews that the prosecutor does with witnesses and others such as the MP analyst (although sometimes this analysis also comes in paper form), requests for information from other agencies (such as those from DIGICAM and RENAP), requests and memos to the judge, arrest orders and other bureaucratic matters.

The end result is a bifurcated system of gathering information, some of which is in paper form and some of which is in digital form, despite the fact that nearly everything is generated on a computer. (See Table 4) Put bluntly, it makes no sense that this information cannot be sent over in digital form and put into a digital folder. This database could be a treasure trove of information for prosecutors. However, prosecutors and their bosses worry about space in the computers, the availability of the computers, and the vulnerability of the computers, among other concerns.

In the end, a lot of information that is gathered for the case file is never analyzed or used in any other matter and is effectively lost. “There is a lot of information in those case files that is not related to the actual crime but that would help us understand criminal dynamics in a strategic way, and that information is lost,” the ministry official said. “It is there, and we don’t use it.”

The reasons why this happens are complex, but at the heart of the issue is the question of what gets priority. In the political world, it is the macro-, and not the micro-data that matters. This is evident in the amount of resources put towards the next phase of the process: collecting statistics for the police.

Phase III: The Statistics

(6) PNC precinct sends daily print and e-summary reports to PNC headquarters.

The precincts are required to send print copies of all these homicide reports to PNC headquarters every day. Precinct 12 has a messenger per shift who every day takes reports from the previous day on a motorcycle, except when the motorcycle is broken or there are other logistical problems.[5] In 2015, for instance, one of the messengers was shot four times when he was on his way to the PNC headquarters to deliver correspondence. When there is no messenger or a working motorcycle for the messenger to use, the chief of the precinct takes a police car and delivers the reports in person, a process that can easily take up to four hours depending on traffic. And those are four hours during which the precinct has one less patrol vehicle to respond to emergencies.

The precincts also generate what they call e-summaries, which are usually paragraph long summaries of crime events, which are sent every day at 6 a.m. by email or fax, depending on internet capabilities, to PNC command, as well as to the Interior Ministry. These shortened versions, known as “circunstanciados,”[6] are the only thing that remain in digital form, if they arrive via email. But they do not include critical information obtained at the scene, including suspected vehicle descriptions, license plate numbers, relatives’ and witnesses’ names and addresses, potential suspects, means of homicide, modus operandi of the victimizer or assassins, preliminary hypothesis, etc.

“The information they are worried about is what the boss needs at that very moment,” the ministry official said. “And the other information regarding the crime (or what would assist with understanding criminal dynamics) is left to the side.”

(7) PNC statistics office receives summaries, divides cases up by possible motive.

In addition to sending the summaries to the PNC command and the Interior Ministry, the precincts also send the circunstanciados to the Latest News (Sección de Novedades) on the first floor of the PNC headquarters by fax or email. Novedades prints the reports or copies the faxes and brings the printed version to the statistics office. The statistics office puts the data in various Excel databases.

The statistics office has seven different databases. One is used for all arrests for different motives countrywide. Another is used for homicides and victims who were wounded (by firearm, objects with blades, car accidents, etc.). These databases include information such as date; address and municipality; time; name of the neighborhood or area; reference data; precinct in charge of protecting the crime scene; name, gender and age of victim; type of crime committed; and cause of death. Other computers are used for databases on stolen or recovered property, and other crimes (rape, kidnapping, extortion, etc.). These databases are divided between “positive events” and “negative events.”  The former refer to recovery of property (stolen vehicles, or personal belongings), or rescued victims of kidnapping, or seizure of illicit drugs or money, for instance. The latter refer to number of homicides, attempted homicides, extortion reports, etc.

This office registers homicide cases daily based on the preliminary information gathered at the scene by the police unit dispatched by the precinct operator. There is a margin of error here as the preliminary information may change during the police or the MP investigation. An office known as the Command for Planning Strategy and Institutional Development (Jefatura de Planificación Estratégica Desarrollo Institucional – JEPEDI) is in charge of classifying homicide cases in terms of preliminary motive. When we tried to understand homicide dynamics, this was our first stop.

The task is not easy, as is reflected in their data that we obtained from our freedom of information requests. To begin with, JEPEDI has been unable to decide on the categories for motive. Between 2012 and 2014, the police added and subtracted categories in a seemingly random fashion. In some cases, they repeat certain types of criminal acts (“kidnapping” and “victim of kidnapping,” for example). In other cases, their typology is so broad that it means nothing. The most important example in this regard is “personal vengeance” (“venganza personal”), a category that accounts for nearly half of the presumed motives across the board every year. (See Table 5)

There are many reasons for this haphazard system. To begin with, these are not trained analysts making these decisions. These are also not prized nor coveted positions. The conditions are poor, resources scarce and rewards minimal. There are no set guidelines for determining these categories and limited information available to make these decisions. There are frequent personnel shifts, and the categorization process is basically at the whim the person who is making the designation or his commander. There are not any automated forms to ensure that the categories are labeled the same. There is no supervision, quality control or training.

The equipment in the statistics office is also outdated; they have only nine computers to process the information from the whole country, two of which were not operating when we visited because the memories were full. They do not have internet, so copies of electronic files must be handed to other sections using a memory stick. There are but five officers per shift who handle and input all the statistical information, as well as make the critical determination of motive.

However, they are not trained in systems or information analysis. According to one JEPEDI official, the only requirement for police personnel working in the statistics office is to be able to use Microsoft Office. This makes the categorization even less reliable. The ministry official called it “pure speculation.” Training is critical since the entire police force depends on the statistics produced by the statistics office, particularly JEPEDI. The PNC, in essence, uses this information to determine its preventive strategies as well as identifying crime trends in each police jurisdiction.

“There is no understanding that this data helps us make decisions,” the Interior Ministry official said. “The only thing it is good for is to have an inventory of the crimes. That’s what we have: an inventory of crimes.”

What’s more, according to one JEPEDI officer, a great deal of time is spent cleaning the information of typos or inaccurate data. For instance, if a vehicle brand (in a car theft case, for instance) is misspelled and written four different ways, this mistake will generate four different records and will appear as if there are four vehicles in question. The same applies to typos in names, or street numbers, and other critical identifying information that should be cross-checked. And, as illustrated above in the case of determining homicide motives, this lack of training and mistakes can affect also how homicides are analyzed, strategies are created, and resources deployed. In sum, the police are determining their strategy based on inadequate, incomplete, and/or incorrect data.

(8) PNC headquarters statistics office holds a meeting every Saturday with delegates from all precincts to corroborate the information sent the previous week in print form or email.

Due to the fact that all the information is entered manually into the system from print reports, there is a large margin of error. To double check the information, the PNC has a meeting every Saturday in which each of the 26 precincts in the country sends a police vehicle and between one and three officers with the precinct’s weekly statistics in print to PNC headquarters to corroborate the data.

The process takes all day, but leaves the police force without 26 vehicles for one or two days. For some precincts, such as the one in Petén, the ride to the capital alone can be as long as eight to ten hours depending on road and traffic conditions. The fuel costs also add up considering this process is done 52 times per year. The cross-reference meeting lasts between half an hour and an hour and a half, depending on how much data the precinct in question generates and the amount of criminal activity in its jurisdiction.

This step is necessary, but it does not reconcile differences with other agencies. Police statistics, for instance, are preliminary, and they do not do a follow-up investigation in the hours or days after the homicide occur. This explains why the police’s numbers are often at odds with those from the MP and INACIF. While the police’s homicide database is static, the MP’s is updated in the days or weeks following the homicide. As stated earlier, the MP will register whether a victim, whom the police reported as wounded, died days later.

The statistics office has a digitalized inventory of crimes from 2001, when the system was created. Any information prior to 2001 has to be located at the corresponding precinct and is in paper form only. It should be noted, again, that precincts have poor filing systems, where even finding files from 2015 can be challenging. Precincts with large caseloads, such as Precinct 12, lack a proper filing system, as well as a server and digital records, officials told InSight Crime. More importantly, there is simply no culture in which this information has any value to them. This appears to be related to the priorities set by those in leadership positions.

Those priorities, of course, are related to the political priorities, which are related to the most immediate concerns of citizens. The easiest way to placate citizens is to increase physical presence of police. But more police do not resolve long-term issues related to gang and organized crime activities, or to social and economic problems.

*This incredibly labor intensive process was financed by the United States Agency for International Development via Democracy International. It was led by Steven Dudley, co-director of InSight Crime. He initially worked with Carlos Mendoza, formerly of the Central American Business Initiative; Mendoza is now at the Finance Ministry. Julie López worked tirelessly the last quarter of the project compiling data and interviewing analysts and police. López and Victoria Dittmar went through and catalogued the hundreds of preliminary police reports that we gathered from Chiquimula and Zona 18. Steven Dudley wrote the report, with assistance from Mendoza and López. Jaime López-Aranda, a former Mexican government official who specializes in data collection and analysis, reviewed and commented on the methodology and drafts of the report. InSight Crime would like to thank Guatemala’s PNC, the MP’s office, and the Interior Ministry for their assistance in this project. Read entire report here.

[1] Comisión Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala (CICIG), “Sistema de la mediación de la impunidad en Guatemala,” 2015, p. 44. Available at: https://cicig.org/uploads/documents/2015/Docto_SisMedImp_20160414.pdf

[2] The cameras are part of a longer story, which are related to a series of seemingly corrupt practices under then Minister Mauricio López Bonilla. López Bonilla is currently in prison facing charges of corruption. See: elPeriódico, “CGC denuncia a López Bonilla por negocio con firma ligada a Mario Leal,” 10 August 2015. Available at: https://elperiodico.com.gt/2015/08/10/investigacion/cgc-denuncia-a-lopez-bonilla-por-negocio-con-firma-ligada-a-mario-leal/

[3] See: Oscar Felipe Q., “Crisis que atraviesa la PNC atenta contra la seguridad ciudadana,” Prensa Libre, 13 March 2016. Available at: https://prensalibre.com/guatemala/escuintla/crisis-que-atraviesa-la-pnc-atenta-contra-la-seguridad-ciudadana .

[4] Some law enforcement in the US see a similar disparaging of raw data. In the US that comes in the form of Call For Service (CFS), the first element of analysis in crime trends in any given area. As one law enforcement officer said, “Calls for service data are raw and messy, and that’s precisely why they’re such a rich source of information about crime.” See: Jeff Asher, “Numbers Racket,” Slate, 15 March 2016. Available at: https://slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2016/03/calls_for_service_data_are_the_best_way_to_analyze_crime_why_don_t_cities.html

[5] This was the case in June 2016 because the messenger was also in charge of the motorcycle’s maintenance and poured battery liquid in a battery that required gel.

[6] These summarized reports are based on the responding officer’s report. They cover everything that was reported in that precinct that day, from homicides to car theft, to arrests, to recovery of a kidnap victims.

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Steven Dudley is the co-founder and co-director of InSight Crime and a senior research fellow at American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies in Washington, DC. In 2020, Dudley...