5 Alternatives to the CAP Index Score

By Michael J. Martin | May 25, 2023 | 3 min read

For decades, the CAP Index Scoring System has been used by organizations to determine the risk of crime at their sites. While it’s been long known as the industry standard for determining risk, there are other, more effective ways to determine the likelihood of crime in your neighborhood.

In fact, if you’re relying only on CAP Index Scores for crime forecasting, it’s a lot like going to Blockbuster when you could be streaming movies on your phone.

What is a CAP Index score?

CAP Index was founded in the 1980s as a way of helping businesses understand the crime risk at their locations so that those organizations would be able to implement appropriate security measures. CAP, which stands for Crime Against Persons and Crimes Against Property, developed a scoring system based on annual police data, as well as local housing, education, population, economic, transit, and business data. All of that information is used to determine the risk of crime at any given address.

After three decades, CAP Index has a loyal following among security professionals. It’s a trusted brand name. But despite that trust, CAP Index scores are no longer the best way to gauge risk.

What is the problem with using CAP Index scoring?

CAP Index scores are based on reports released annually, like the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Reports. In the 1980s, 1990s, and even in the early 2000s, this made sense. It was the best source of crime data at the time. Now, however, the problem with annually updated scores is obvious: the CAP Index Report gives you a picture of what crime was like in your area a year ago. You can’t base your security decisions on information that old.

Fortunately, there are much better and more up-to-date sources of information.

5 alternatives to the CAP Index Score

  1. Local law enforcement: Technology has made it easy for local police departments to put out easily accessible notifications about crime in your area. Using social media and SMS notifications, you can easily collect information about crime in real-time from the police in your area.

  2. Social media: Police aren't the only people reporting crime on social media. By scanning social media feeds for notifications about crime in your area, you can take advantage of private citizens taking video of crimes in progress and posting about crimes they’ve witnessed.

  3. Scanner apps: Police scanners are now digital, which means you can listen to the scanner on your phone.This is a helpful resource when an incident is in progress.

  4. Solutions like ThreatMinder: ThreatMinder is a risk monitoring solution that provides companies with a window into multiple digital feeds, including crime data, social media, and feeds like LexisNexis. ThreatMinder allows organizations to monitor several kinds of risks, including, regulatory and cyber risk as well as social media issues that may affect reputational risk. Because ThreatMinder continuously monitors risk, organizations are able to discover threats in real time.

  5. Scenario-based assessments: Go beyond external data by assessing your risk based on scenario in order to better understand what specific risks your site is facing. A scenario-based assessment is a risk assessment that’s directed toward a specific threat, concern, or hazard. Rather than using a general checklist to assess the vulnerability of an entire site, scenario-based assessments evaluate the risk of one scenario happening at each site.

Get your information in real-time

If your organization is relying on CAP Index scores, it’s behind the times. There are so many ways to access localized crime data relevant to your site. In fact, relying on year-old crime data can be dangerous; if you’re planning an executive travel, how out of date is the local CAP Index Score and how much has changed in the last year? If you’re building a new facility, how can you know if the site is safe if the information is old?

Are you pulling in enough data points to make good decisions about your site’s risk? Contact us to talk to an expert today.

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