NIJ Recognizes CRIMES as Exemplary CJ Technology



CRIMES, a record management system developed by the Police Research Center at SHSU, was named a Justice Innovation Center for use by police and probation departments.

A comprehensive records management system developed for law enforcement agencies by the Police Research Center (PRC) at Sam Houston State University (SHSU) was designated a Justice Innovation Center by the National Institute of Justice.

The Criminal Research Information Management Evaluation System (CRIMES), currently used by 50+ departments in Texas, was recognized as a technological solution for law enforcement and probation for small, rural, tribal or border criminal justice agencies. The system, developed by Larry Hoover, director of the PRC, aids in day-to-day operations of departments as well as long-term planning.

“I am very proud of this significant accomplishment by our team at the Police Research Center,” said Phillip Lyons, Dean of the College of Criminal Justice and Director of the Criminal Justice Center. “Our goal at the College and the Center is to facilitate a sharper focus on efforts that elevate practice in the field. This recognition provides ample evidence that CRIMES and CRIMES probation do just that.”

Although records management systems are an indispensable tool for law enforcement agencies, the cost is often prohibitive for smaller agencies. CRIMES is a cost effective way to deliver services that can be shared by multiple agencies.

“CRIMES represents a technology solution that has provided a credible response to the needs of law enforcement agencies and is working to do the same for correction agencies as well,” according to a report by Vincent Webb, former Dean at the College of Criminal Justice, and Jirka Taylor at the Justice Innovation Center. “There is nothing to suggest that its replication in other locales would not be able to provide similar outcomes.”

CRIMES consists of four key components, including core modules for daily operations, support elements to aid officers in their duties, analytical tools to use in planning, and management devices to handle routine activities. The system offers 20 modules, ranging from computer aided dispatch, master name-person identification, incident reporting, database searches, report generation, crime analysis, and booking and jail management, to name a few.

CRIMES is accessible remotely and has a GPS/GIS interface to map functions and locations. It also can integrate fire services for computer-aided dispatch and mobile communication. Finally, it provides a centralized location for data and provides a back-up system to ensure that data will not be lost due to local system failure. It also automatically shares law enforcement and crime data information to the FBI’s National Data Exchange.

Another benefit of the system is that CRIMES can be used for the development of new technologies to aid criminal justice agencies as well as research to help improve practices in the field. It can also serve as a training and professional development tool to use technology for analysis and decision-making.

CRIMES is also developing a parallel system to serve probation agencies across the state and will soon launch the system serving nine agencies.

The key behind the success of the initiative is the partnership between agencies and SHSU. To replicate the project, a similar buy-in with a local university or other non-profit may be necessary, said Webb and Taylor said. The report is available from the Justice Innovation Center.

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