In Security Solutions for Strip Shopping Centers, author and security expert witness Karim H. Vellani discusses risks and solutions for strip shopping center security:
Using Police Data
Given that we now know that crime analysis uses actual crime data, we should define, step by step, the methodology that is proven, considered a best practice, and most important, accepted in court. The first step is to obtain the police department data for each store. This data usually comes in the form of Calls for Service (CFS), which provide a fairly accurate portrayal of criminal and other activity and consist of each call to the police to report crimes or other activity from the location. With this initial data, we can begin to build our database of crime at each store.
To get to 100% accuracy, we have to go one step further by obtaining the offense report for each incident that concern us. Offense reports are the written narrative of a call for service that resulted in an actual crime. Offense reports are especially important at shopping centers for a number of reasons. First, it is common for people to use the pay phones at shopping centers to report crimes that may not have occurred at the store. Offense reports give us the critical information to weed out those crimes that happened elsewhere. Second, shopping centers often have inflated crime levels because police dispatchers and officers use the main address of the shopping center. The police report will disclose the business where the crime actually occurred. Third, crimes are sometimes misreported by victims and witnesses. Offense reports disclose the actual crime, not the reported crime. For example, offense reports may tell us that a reported robbery from the shopping center was actually a burglary at an apartment complex across the street.