Criminal intelligence

Criminal intelligence is characterized by addressing the analysis and interpretation of an issue or situation from a multidisciplinary approach, integrating information from all sources, and processing it by a team of professionals. It does not react to the commission of a crime as criminal investigation does, but operates continuously on any individual, activity, or organization that may become a future threat or a security risk.

Criminal intelligence has a clear preventive nature, aiming to provide knowledge that allows authorities to anticipate and neutralize or deter threats. Criminal intelligence does not primarily seek to solve a crime, but rather operates in situations of threat, risk, and prediction. This does not mean that, under certain circumstances, it cannot be used to assist in carrying out a police operation to effectively neutralize a criminal threat, or that elements that may be used as evidence in a judicial context cannot emerge during the development of intelligence analysis.

Therefore, criminal intelligence does not set its priorities and objectives based on the type or volume of crimes. It responds to the interests and objectives previously established by the decision-maker, who as a consumer of intelligence defines the content of the intelligence product according to their needs.

Multidisciplinary Approach

  • Integration of disciplines: Criminal intelligence merges knowledge from criminology, psychology, sociology, technology, and data science, among other fields, to provide a holistic understanding of potential threats.
  • Interagency collaboration: Involves cooperation among various security agencies, intelligence services, and governmental entities, promoting a unified approach against crime.
  • Continuous training: Criminal intelligence analysts are constantly trained to adapt to new technologies and analytical methodologies.

Prevention and Neutralization of Threats

  • Predictive analysis: Use of data analysis techniques to identify patterns that may indicate planning or predisposition to commit crimes.
  • Monitoring and surveillance: Implementation of surveillance technologies to closely monitor individuals or groups suspected of posing a threat.
  • Strategic interventions: Development of strategies to dismantle or deter activities before they become real threats.

Intelligence as a Judicial Support Tool

  • Support in police operations: Intelligence can be crucial in planning and executing operations that neutralize specific threats, ensuring public safety.
  • Contribution in the judicial realm: Occasionally, the information collected and analyzed may be used as evidence in legal proceedings, always respecting legal norms and human rights.
  • Feedback to improve effectiveness: The outcomes of operations based on criminal intelligence are often evaluated to refine future techniques and strategies.

Challenges and Ethics

  • Balancing security and privacy: Managing the line between necessary security measures and respecting the privacy and civil rights of individuals.
  • Risk of stigmatization: Preventing preventive measures from resulting in the stigmatization of communities or individuals based on predetermined profiles.
  • Transparency and accountability: Maintaining transparent conduct in criminal intelligence operations to build and maintain public trust.


Criminal intelligence represents a fundamental pillar in the fight against crime, noted for its preventive nature and its ability to adapt to new challenges and technologies. Its success depends on the effective integration of multiple disciplines and ongoing collaboration between different entities and sectors.