Frequently Asked Questions and Support Topics

This page provides answers to some common questions about CAP Index and our products and services. Click on a topic heading to view by category.  If you don’t see an answer to your question, contact us at any time. If you are looking for sample CRIMECAST Reports, CAP Index’s crime risk analyses and case studies, or other documents, visit our document library.

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

What do CAP 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, 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 CAP 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 other protected categories 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. Our team 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 Scoring System 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 CAP 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 CAP 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 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 CRIMECAST® 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 CAP Score too high? What is a high CAP 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 CRIMECAST® 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.

CRIMECAST Frequently Asked Questions

What are the specific components of a CAP 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.

What does a CRIMECAST® Report contain?

A sample CRIMECAST report provides “Past”, “Current” and “Projected” CRIMECAST scores relative to the national, state and county average of 100. We provide CRIMECAST scores for ten (10) different crime categories and a total of ninety (90) crime risk scores per location. Custom samples may also be generated at CAP Index’s discretion.

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 was the CAP Index Scoring System 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.

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

Are the CAP 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 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.

Does the presence of an above-average CAP 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.

Are CRIMECAST® 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.

Proximity Analysis Report FAQs

What is Proximity Analysis?

Proximity Analysis is a consequence-management tool that identifies potential targets, threats, or other sites of concern near your business, providing a broader perspective on each location’s total security requirements.

What factors does it identify?

Proximity Analysis identifies a variety of factors within a site’s surrounding environment which could affect business continuity and mission objectives. Such points of interest include public attractions, industrial facilities, public infrastructure, government facilities and transportation hubs.

How can Custom Points of Interest (POI) help me?

Although there are many layers offered in CAP’s existing Proximity Analysis Reports, organizations may have specialized concerns that can be addressed by uploading customized points. Additionally, there may be situations in which a newly constructed resource or threat is not yet recognized by POI providers. The ability to add such points allows users to update their Proximity Analysis Reports to reflect their knowledge of a facility’s surrounding environment.

What distance is covered in a Proximity report?

Proximity reports can be customized by distance from a central address point ranging from one mile to fifty miles away from a chosen address.

How do I know where the risk points are in relation to the requested address?

CAP Index Proximity Analysis reports position the address of interest in the center of the map. Proximity reports are delivered via two documents, a PDF map identifying the chosen risk factors with icons correlating to an accompanying legend, and a spreadsheet noting the type of site and its distance to the address being evaluated. Where available, the name and address of the site will also be provided.

Why are some factors not included in the report?

In maintaining the Proximity Analysis database, CAP Index uses the best available data. In some cases, criteria for identifying a structure may be incomplete, or database layers may not be consistent with identification criteria. In addition, some structures may either be too new or have been replaced or destroyed, representing occasional errors in reporting. It is currently not feasible to be 100% accurate in all cases all of the time.

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    NOTE: The reports and documents within the support library and throughout the website are the copyrighted property of CAP Index, Inc. (CAP). CAP has used reasonable efforts to include accurate and complete information in these documents. CAP makes no representations or warranties that the information provided within these documents are accurate, complete, or current. The contents of these documents are the property of CAP. You may print and download portions of material from the different areas of the documents solely for your own non-commercial use. Any other copying, redistribution, retransmission, or publication of any material is strictly prohibited without the express written consent of CAP. By accepting any of these documents, you agree not to change or delete any information included in the documents. In no event shall CAP be liable for any special, indirect, or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data, or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence, or other action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of documents, services, or information available from these documents. The findings presented in these documents are intended to provide a basis of understanding for the reader on the issues presented. The information is not to be construed or used as a substitute for specific legal advice and may not reflect an analysis of all relevant variables or the operational feasibility of the considerations presented. Individuals seeking legal advice for a particular problem or issue should obtain advice from an attorney of their choosing.