A Solvability-Based Case Screening Checklist for Burglaries in Ireland

  • Stephen Shannon
  • Barry Coonan


Burglary case screening is a way to sort burglaries with a checklist to identify those that police are most likely to detect. In this report for policing professionals, we summarise the development of the first solvability-based case screening process for burglaries in Ireland. This analysis was based on 49 534 burglaries reported to the Irish police force over 2014 and 2015. We whittled down a list of about 100 factors to a final case screening checklist of 17 questions with big data analysis, including text mining with R, variable creation with Excel formulae and regression with SPSS. After taking multiple factors into account, the top five predictors of whether a burglary will be detected after 1 day of investigation are: CCTV availability, suspect name availability, the motive is vandalism, a description of the offender’s vehicle and a description of the suspect. We recommended that o cers should continue to investigate burglaries with 5 or more of the 17 factors on the case screening checklist. If o fficers had used this checklist in 2014 and 2015, we estimate that they would have continued to investigate 49 % of burglaries after 1 day and that the detection rate would have increased by 50 % (from 9 % to 14 %). Identifying which burglaries are most solvable and allocating the most resources to those is a promising opportunity for An Garda Síochána to deliver a more cost-effective service and boost detection rates. The next step is to conduct a pilot study to test the checklist.

How to Cite
Shannon, S., & Coonan, B. (2016). A Solvability-Based Case Screening Checklist for Burglaries in Ireland. European Law Enforcement Research Bulletin, (15), 31-41. Retrieved from https://bulletin.cepol.europa.eu/index.php/bulletin/article/view/165