I'm a junior researcher at an institute dealing with regional issues, particularly involving drug policy. Almost two years ago, one of our senior researchers began collecting arrest data about a nearby large city. He had been transcribing newspaper police blotter by hand until I joined a year and change ago and convinced him to switch to automated data collection.
We're now ready to start analyzing this dataset. It contains about 20k arrest records with virtually no missing or invalid values (I'd estimate that there are less than 100 such records, and some of those are just parser errors). These records include full name and home address of the arrested person, arresting officers, exact charges, etc. (we've even found SSNs in the data). At this point, we're just exploring the data, but we expect to find differences in number and severity of charges according to race, arrest location, and home location.
The dataset has two variables that, to my understanding, are categorical multiple-response questions. "Arresting Officer" is two columns, one of which always has a value and one of which may have an a value (for the second officer present at the arrest). "Charges" is five columns, each containing a single charge and in no particular order. To complicate the structure further, a person arrested on more than five charges will be issued multiple records.
We messed around with the above dataset for a few hours so far and have gotten as far as being able to obtain useful counts and percentages in SPSS by using the Multiple Response Set feature and plugging that into Custom Tables. This is a fine start, but we'd like to move on to more detailed analysis at some point. Unfortunately, neither of us are aware of the recommended (or anti-recommended) methods for analyzing a categorical multiple-response question. This also applies to our desire to eventually group specific charges (e.g., "possession of controlled substances < 4 oz.") into broader categories such as 'violent crimes' or 'drug crimes'.
Note that I'm not looking for just a snap answer here, as we don't have a deadline. I would be glad to do readings, so feel free to point me in the direction of tutorials, textbooks, and so on. I'm also not particularly attached to SPSS - it's just what my coworker is used to. If there are clear disadvantages to using it for this type of problem, I don't mind learning something new.