Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving


Many organizations, institutions and agencies have found themselves making more harm in the process of solving problems than coming up with positive results as expected. Many of these organizations have become malfunctioned as a result of lack of good direction and communication. This problem is mostly affected by the way the strategies that the relevant authority use when it comes to problem solving. It is with this in mind that I want to focus on the critical thinking and problem solving as a way to increase effectiveness. Using critical thinking and problem solving I will be trying to explain why there is the rising murder cases in Baltimore.


Critical thinking is mental process where a problem is broken down and analyzed in order to come up with rational and justified conclusion. A critical thinker here takes his time before rushing to make premature findings by keenly looking at the deeper aspect of the problem rather than focusing on the manifest. It is also important to note that in critical thinking, the person is not relying on a certain precedent case. This has happened in many police department where they tend kto equate a certain crime that has been committed to a series of others that were committed before. They therefore base the past factors that led to such crimes as their evidences to the current situations.

In problem solving however, this should be disputed. Unbiased conclusions and quick generalization of social crimes has rendered much of the work that is done by the crime analysts ineffective and therefore they are unable to successfully establish the root causes of certain series of crimes.

A good system of critical thinking and problem solving does not only focus on a problem in a narrow minded way. They look at a problem from a wider perspective. They look at whether such a crime has ever been committed else where, what were the causes for that kind of crime, what are the similarities with the current crime and how can we borrow from that to solve the current situation.

This can be best understood from the problem analysis triangle. This is a triangular diagram that involves first there players. The first one is a potential offender who is ready to commit a crime. The next one happens to be a given target being aimed by the offender while third factor in the triangle is the time and the space the two are likely to engage. According to this triangle, it is easier for the analysts of crime to determine and predict who, when and where certain kinds of crimes are likely to occur.

To make that kind of a triangle even more effective, this theory suggests that those people who go out to commit crime are under the control of others who have been given the name handlers (Chaney & Rateliffe 2005). Guardians have also been said to be in the control of the targeted people while the managers are said to be the people who control the time and the space where these kinds of this crimes occur. The crime analyst therefore need to understand that each of the parties mentioned here are very vital when it comes to the fighting and the mitigation of crime and therefore they need not leave any stone unturned.

Putting the above theory in a more practical way, the crime analyst must observe four main factors if they are to succeed in their work. One of those factors is the behavior or the atmosphere. Certain crimes are known to be committed after a certain kind of behavior has occurred such as loud noises. They are therefore required to be on high alert to read such cues that may lead them to preventing any further crimes.

The other important factor that should be considered is the persons. It has been found that certain criminal activities are committed by certain groups of people. However, care needs to be taken here to make sure that it is not irrationally assumed that those crimes will only be committed by those particular people, and make the police relax failing to perform thorough investigations. They should be in a position to see if these groups of people could be linked with the crime that has been committed.

The final factor which is equally important is the place and time that the crime is likely to happen. For instance a crime like the one of murder at Baltimore could be taking place in dark and deserted places, where the population is few and therefore no one to observe these offenders. It could also be taking place in the evening hours. The police should therefore do a keen investigation to determine the circumstances under which such crimes are committed and by doing so they will be able to mitigate that.

The other work on the improvement of the crime analysis was suggested by White (2008), who called for the collaboration between the federal state and the agencies that are based locally. Information should be let to flow and shared between the two agencies to avoid any kind of a conflict that may arise in the process. Lack of communication has been cited as the main obstacle to mitigating manageable crimes because there is no cooperation between the two.

The analysts here are called to do independent analysis of the problem and not rely on the past experiences. This is one of the ways that biased information and unfounded facts are eliminated and information that is based on facts is established. There is also a call to ensure that technology is employed and utilized with an aim of making the work much faster and more effective. The rate of crimes are on the rise and therefore the analyst have to keep with that pace if any progress is to be made as far as fighting crime is concerned.

The other factor that has been suggested is that these crime analysts need to work as a team. This is the best way they can exchange information and their experiences that is vital in the work they are involved in. This has led to the call of centralization so that team work is encouraged and dissemination of information is made easier (Boda 2005). This helps to make the force more competent and increase in skills of even handling and applying the necessary technology. Adequate technical support is also vital if the crime analysts are to succeed in what they do. There has been a call to employ qualified and competent team of information technology analysts who are aware of what happens in the crime situations.

In many cases, the source of information for the crimes analysts is not credible as it has been argued by Krizan(1999).Such kind of information according to him is not only invalid but also unreliable. It is therefore important for these analysts to ensure that the information they are working on to solve a certain problem, is coming from trusted sources. He also called for the breaking of the problem into smaller parts for it to be analyzed critically. One of the biggest mistake that analysts do is to act on mind set information and fail to look for the latent part of the problem to see how it could be connected to other factors, which if controlled will help to reduce the crime.

Inductive kind of reasoning has been suggested as one way by which problem solving can succeed (John 2003).This is a king of reasoning that based on given premises which are connected together in a logical manner to provide a rational conclusion. There is the call therefore to shun the inductive reasoning which is used many times but which is marred with a lot of generalizations. It has also been emphasized here that there is need for the analysts to develop a sense of empathy. This is the ability to understand those who commit these crimes from their perspective. With this, the analysts will get to know why the offenders commit certain crimes. After knowing their motives, ways of controlling that can be employed. The same should apply to the case at Baltimore to understand the motive behind the murders.

The other problem solving strategy is by use of a method known as Scanning, Analyzing, Response and Assessment (SARS). Scanning is all about applying the knowledge gained through experience in the job industry to identify the problem. The crime analyst must have a way of establishing a crime based on the skills they posses. This prevents a lot of time wasting.

Analyzing on the other hand deals with what we have mentioned earlier in our discussion. This is the ability to go beyond the manifest problem in the attempt to get the real meaning of the problem presented (Kurth 2004).This is the only way the analysts will be dealing with the actual issue and at the end will eradicate the vices. The other one is the response, where the analysts devise several solutions to the problem. Lastly, there is need for assessment to see if the solution to the problem really applied to the issue and sets precedence for such a problem in future.


The only way that the crime of murder will reduce in Baltimore is by applying critical thinking to the problem solving. It will begin by understanding why this particular people engage in such evil behaviors.


Krizan, Lisa. June 1999. Intelligence Essentials for Everybody. Occasional Paper

Washington, DC:

Matthew B. White ( 2008).Enhancing the Problem-Solving Capacity of Crime Analysis Units

Tool Guide 9

Boda, R ( 2005). Critical Analysis and Crime Mapping. California Sage.

Bynum, T (2001). Using Analysis for Problem Solving: a Guildbook for law Enforcement. Washington DC.

Chaney. S and J. Rateliffe (2005). Crime Mapping. London. John Wiley and Sons

Clark, R. and J. Eck. ( 2005). Crime Analysts for Problem Solvers.

Weasel, D (2003). The Order of Analysis in Solving problems. Monsey. NY. Criminal Justice Press.

Bonder, John W. ( 2003). Warning analysts for the information. Intelligence Press. Washington.

Audrey Kurth. ( 2004). Attacking Terrorism. Elements of a Grand Plan. Washington.