RCSO creates position
Deputy Michael Camp named crime analyst

CONYERS - What areas experience the highest number of auto thefts? What time of day do most burglaries occur? Does the same suspect's description appear in different crime reports?

These are just some of the questions the new crime analyst at the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office will seek to answer.

Deputy Michael Camp was hired June 16 to help the Sheriff's Office identify crime patterns and trends.

"His job will be to review reports, look for trends and similarities in different crimes and try to predict where our enforcement should be based on that information," Sheriff Jeff Wigington said.

Wigington said the Sheriff's Office had already developed a uniform task force that can respond to areas based on need.

"But with this new position, we can determine trends more quickly," he said. "For the first time, we can know what happens all around us."

According to a press release from the Sheriff's Office, crime analysis is "an essential law enforcement function for the systematic examination of daily reports of crime in order to determine the location, time and similarities to other criminal events and facts (that) may help identify either a suspect or the existence of a pattern of criminal activity."

The Rockdale County Board of Commissioners approved the crime analyst position for the Sheriff's Office in the 2008 budget.

The data Camp provides, Wigington said, will help the Sheriff's Office deploy the uniformed deputies more effectively and efficiently, and ultimately should result in a reduction of crime. The information could also help deputies communicate with local Neighborhood Watch communities and let them know of certain trends in their areas.

Camp graduated from the University of Georgia in 2007 with bachelor's degrees in sociology and criminal justice. As part of his degree programs, he studied data analysis, which included researching and analyzing data while suggesting practical solutions.

Camp began his tenure with the RCSO in the spring of 2007 as an intern. He was hired upon graduation as a deputy sheriff in the Uniform Patrol Division.

Camp said he is excited about this new position and the opportunity to assist the Sheriff's Office in this way.

"As an intern, I worked in each division. Everything was interesting to me and I soaked it up," he said.

"We looked at several applicants for the crime analyst position, but felt like it was important this person have a working knowledge of our system," Wigington said.

Furthermore, the sheriff said that as a recent graduate, Camp brings up-to-date knowledge of technology and research tools to the job.

Camp's first order of business is to compile crime statistics data from 1998 to the present using Uniform Crime Reports. The UCR is a database created by the Federal Bureau of Investigation from crime statistics provided each year by local jurisdictions.

Based on those raw numbers, he has generated a side-by-side comparison of different crimes reported in east metro counties. For example, in 2006, Gwinnett County reported 2,353 violent crimes; DeKalb County reported 5,098 violent crimes occurred that year; Rockdale reported 289; and Newton reported 426.

The same statistics are available for thefts, burglaries, property crimes, auto thefts, rapes, robberies, murders and assaults.

Eventually, Camp will be able to use software to break down crimes based on method of operation, suspect description, vehicle description, types of implements used and other variables. He will also help the Sheriff's Office find software to help with data analysis that is compatible with other law enforcement agencies, including the Conyers Police Department and the Georgia State Patrol.

"It's like a funnel, and we're at the broad point right now," said Sgt. Myra Pearrell, system administrator for the Sheriff's Office.

Aimee Jones can be reached at aimee.jones@rockdalecitizen.com.