CAP Index

FAQs about Crime Risk Assessment and Loss Forecasting Tools from CAP Index

Below is a list of common questions and answers regarding our CRIMECAST® products and CAP Index. Please view the answers by clicking on the questions.

If you do not see the answer to your questions, please contact CAP.

What do the scores mean?

CAP Index’s scores range from 0-2000 with one hundred (100) being the average for each geographic comparison. A National Current CAP score of 270 means the address has a 2.7 times higher likelihood of a crime occurring there than the national average when comparing this site to every addressable location in the United States. A State Current CAP score of 450 means the address has a 4.5 times higher likelihood of a crime occurring than any addressable location within that particular state. The County scores compare the address to the rest of the county in which it is found. This allows for an objective comparison when comparing a “high risk” location in a “high risk” area vs. a “high risk” location in an otherwise “low risk” area.

How does CAP Index, Inc. forecast crime?

By employing sophisticated computer modeling techniques similar to those used to forecast the economic trends of the nation and to forecast the weather, CAP Index is able to forecast where criminal activity is likely to occur. It is an accepted criminological and policing theory that the amount of social disorganization and decline in a neighborhood has a direct correlation to the amount of crime that can be predicted to occur there. CAP Index has created a statistical forecasting model that correlates the demographic data described above with survey information, incident data, and other databases with known indicators of crime. This model provides a forecast of criminal activity for any location in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada with a high degree of accuracy.

What does a CRIMECAST® Report contain?

A CRIMECAST Basic report consists of 90 crime risk scores and a color-coded map of the neighborhood environment surrounding an address. These scores measure the likelihood of ten personal and property crimes to occur at the address and allow users to choose from two distance/population density methods from the property. CRIMECAST Basic reports also provide trending analysis and compare the property to three different geographies of varying size for the objective comparison to other addresses.

CRIMECAST Premium reports provide 180 crime risk scores in both methodologies, Uniform Crime Report/Government Crime Data counts and rates, additional bar graphs, and neighborhood scrolling functions beyond the standard report distance.

What is the difference between the FBI's Uniform Crime Report (UCR) and CAP Index Scores?

The UCR represents historical crime counts voluntarily provided to the FBI by most, but not all of the police departments in the United States and is subject to differences in their reporting practices. It is collected to give a general overview of the rate of crime in U.S. cities by measuring the number of incidents per 100,000 population. The UCR does not recognize any one section of a city as more or less risky than another. Additionally, the UCR does not forecast crime because it is not address-specific nor is it available for all areas.

What are the specific components of a CRIMECAST® Score?

The CAP Index crime forecasting model incorporates a wide variety of information from the following sources: neighborhood demographic and physical housing data; national crime surveys; local police data; and company crime loss reports from all of the major industries. It is important to note that race, religion, and gender are NOT factors in our model.

Has CAP Index's crime forecasting model been challenged in court?

Yes, on numerous occasions. As such a unique, but widely utilized and accepted crime risk prediction tool, the CAP Index model is frequently challenged, but to our knowledge has never been proven to be invalid by a court. CAP Index’s President,  Jon D. Groussman, J.D. has successfully testified to the model’s use and validity in cases such as Mario v. McDonald’s, as well as numerous other cases around the country.

What is the difference between national, state, and county scores?

The national score compares the crime risk at a specific location to the crime risk at “Main Street, USA”. The national score allows you to compare multiple sites, regardless of location, to each other with a common baseline. Thus, you can compare the risk at a location in New York City to a location in Los Angeles without poring through and interpreting subjective police data.

How was the CAP Index Model created and how is it validated?

The CAP Index model was created and is continuously maintained by a team of Criminologists, Statisticians, Security and Mapping professionals. The model contains the weighted averages of nearly 150 demographic variables as well as numerous sources of historical reported crime. We conduct ongoing validation research with individual clients and industry groups, comparing their actual incident history to our projections. The demographic databases included in the model are updated on an annual basis, ensuring the most up-to-date crime forecasting information available while allowing users to objectively compare risk at one location to any other location within the country in which they reside.

Are the CRIMECAST® Scores alone sufficient to evaluate the risk at a location?

Many corporations rely solely on CAP Index for their crime risk assessment. We advise, however, that companies make an effort to accumulate whatever information is available for a given location, including crime loss reports, police data, neighborhood security practices, and any other “due diligence” indicated by local, state and national industry standards.

What sources does CAP Index use to validate CRIMECAST® Scores?

In addition to the core elements of our research, we rely upon continuous data input from our clients to further validate our model. As a result of years of client and industry-specific research, CAP Index has compiled the largest database of company crime loss data in the U.S. We combine this information with local police crime counts to provide the most accurate crime risk assessments available from any source in the country. In effect, each client we serve has the potential to strengthen the next.

Does the presence of an above-average CAP Index Score automatically make a company liable for any crime on their property?

No. The majority of CAP Index’s clients utilize our data to determine their risk of crime in order to address it properly. It is entirely possible and appropriate for a business to identify high crime risk, implement appropriate security measures, and operate a safe and profitable business. The risk of crime alone does not dictate either that a company should not locate in an area, or that they assume responsibility for any and all criminal acts.

Does CAP Index's crime forecasting model promote "redlining"?

No. Redlining is an illegal activity, undoubtedly still practiced by some companies today, that amounts to discriminating against a community due to a high proportion of minority residents. The CAP Index model measures seven dozen demographic variables against historical occurrences of crime. Race, the key factor in redlining, is not among the variables. Our research shows that approximately one-third of all census tracts in the United States predominantly populated by minorities achieve below-average CAP Index scores, further supporting our position that race is not a determining factor in predicting crime.

What is a CRIMECAST® Crime Vulnerability Assessment?

The CRIMECAST® Crime Vulnerability Assessment is a forecast, intended to indicate the likelihood of crimes occurring at any location in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. CRIMECAST® scores are provided for any specific location in comparison to national, state and county averages. The scores are scaled so that a value of 100 is equal to the national, state and/or county averages. Thus, a CAP Index of 200 is twice the average, while a score of 50 is one-half of the average.

Are CAP Index Reports frequently used to support legal opinions in Inadequate Security and Premises Liability lawsuits?

Yes. Since incorporating in 1988, CAP Index has served thousands of corporate clients interested in protecting their employees, visitors and other invitees. Many of our clients share our information internally between their Security, Real Estate, Risk Management and Legal Departments and utilize it whenever appropriate.

When is a score too high? What is a high score?

Businesses enter markets with varying levels of crime and loss risk exposure. Therefore, “high” and “low” become relative terms. A score is either above or below its category average. One business may be satisfied with the exposure to risk at a National CAP score of 600 (6 times the National average) because it is aware of the inherent risks and has taken appropriate actions to address or mitigate the risk and still maintain profitability. Another business may avoid an area with a National CAP score of 500 due to the level of risk/reward not being in line with its profit expectations and associated costs. Businesses and industries vary widely in their risk exposure and mitigation efforts, so to say a location is “high” or “low” risk becomes a subjective exercise.

What does "CAP" stand for?

Crimes Against Persons or Crimes Against Property

Does CAP Index show recent increased police efforts in an area?

No. Samplings of actual crime counts are considered when validating the scores generated by the CAP Index model; however, the data is based solely on the population makeup and identifying characteristics of the legal inhabitants surrounding an address. The scores are often used to justify activity and reallocation of efforts or funds, but they are not a direct result of increased or decreased policing, rather they are a piece of an integrated effort to raise awareness of the potential for crime to occur.

How often should I run reports on my facility or business?

Most businesses generate scores every year, with some generating scores every other year. CAP Index strongly recommends updating any data older than 24 months due to the amount of potential change in the makeup of the immediate environment as well as the neighborhoods surrounding an address.

Does CAP Index take into consideration the effects of highway accessibility?

No. Currently CAP Index’s model is based on the sociodemographic makeup of legal inhabitants that reside within a set distance or population density from a specific address. Vehicular accessibility from beyond those distance/population densities and the risk entailed because of that accessibility is subjective and cannot currently be measured. CAP Index can provide data for areas beyond a normal map window, but this data requires subjective interpretation by the client.