In January 2004, Criminal Intelligence Service Canada (CISC) initiated Project SOOTHSAYER. The goal of the project was to develop a fully functional strategic early warning system (SEWS) for organized and serious crime in Canada. The project had three broad objectives: a) the development of a methodology suited to warning for law enforcement; b) the establishment of a reporting mechanism; and c) the development of dissemination and communications methods (i.e. a product line). SEWS is not to be confused with crime pattern analysis, which looks at specific crime types such as burglaries and assaults. Rather, SEWS focuses on emergency events and phenomena – be they local, national or international, demographic, economic or technological – that could potentially alter the organized and serious crime situation in Canada. Although strategic warning systems have been utilized in other fields such as public health and national defence, law enforcement has only begun to understand the utility of strategic analysis and warning in its fight against organized crime. Thus, CISC sought out the support of the Country Indicators for Foreign Policy (CIFP) project at Carleton University, which had a demonstrated expertise in warning for state failure, risk assessment, and early warning. The purpose of this paper is to present the methodological approach developed by CISC in partnership with CIFP.
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Creating an Organized Crime Sentinal: Towards the Development and Implementation of a Strategic Early Warning Methodology for Law Enforcement