The acronym “SARA” refers to a problem-solving model that is used by law enforcement but can also be used in a variety of other settings. The letters in “SARA” stand for Scanning, Analysis, Response, and Assessment.
Scanning is the process of trying to figure out what sorts of problems actually exist in the area for which the police are responsible. Scanning involves the use of data about crime and other important factors. The police look at the data and try to determine which kinds of crimes (and/or in which areas) are serious enough to be treated as priorities.
Analysis is the use of data to think about the problems identified in the first step of the process. Here, police use the data to try to determine what factor or factors are causing the crimes to occur.
Response is the part of the process in which the police try to prevent the crimes from occurring. The police will do such things as giving more protection to likely victims, making problem locations less comfortable for people who might commit crimes, and trying to find other things for potential offenders to do.
Assessment, finally, consists of using further data gathered after the response has been done. The police take these data and use them to determine whether their response has been adequate.