This paper profiles the expanding role of prosecutors as members of a crime strategies unit committed to analyzing, developing, and implementing strategies for preventing and responding to crime in their jurisdictions.
Intelligence-driven prosecution, a framework developed by the New York County District Attorney’s Office (DANY) in 2010, manifests the new role of prosecutors as participants in a problem-solving approach to public safety. As a corollary of knowing which individuals are driving crime trends, an intelligence-driven prosecutor’s office enables a targeted approach to prosecution that prioritizes cases that pose the most threat to public safety in their jurisdictions. As stated in this paper: “Modern prosecutors no longer simply react to arrests, but instead they engage with their communities, learn about crime trends, and ask broader questions about how to improve public safety in a manner that is effective and fair.” This paper focuses on the features and responsibilities of a Crime Strategies Unit (CSU) as a vehicle for implementing intelligence-driven prosecution. A CSU collects data and intelligence on crime trends and individuals driving crime, analyzes the information, forms partnerships with related agencies, and solicits input from the community on public safety issues. This CSU work informs prosecutorial decisions, improves the flow of information into the prosecutor’s office, and supports individual prosecutions and investigations. This paper also explains that prosecutors who do not have the resources to develop and operate a separate CSU can develop processes that provide the benefits of a CSU. Topics discussed in relation to CSU functions are building foundational partnerships, gathering data and intelligence, guiding prosecutorial decisions, and supporting prosecutions and investigations. Appended additional online resources