Time to Get With It for Police Departments
Far too many police stations are hindered by antiquated operating systems. Police officers face a daily challenge of entering information manually into many programs. Surprisingly, the information officers struggle to recover is all too often a matter of life or death.
However, there are law enforcement agencies that have both investigative and operating systems that have been technologically upgraded. According to eForce Software, “These upgraded systems have made it possible for these agencies to effectively ensure their citizens’ safety.” For instance, An Garda Siochama in Ireland and Guardia Civil in Spain are prime examples of how the use of technology can lead to highly efficient police investigative and operations systems.
Fighting Crime with Data Analysis
When it comes to doing detective work in order to prevent crime, police departments are now using data analysis. The Smart Policing Initiative (SPI) is a program that combines crime prevention and data analysis. Funding, technical help and training are provided by a collaboration of the non-profit CNA Corporation and the Federal Bureau of Justice Assistance to 38 local police departments across the USA for their data-centered crime prevention programs.
One city that definitely turned its crime rates around successfully due to the SPI program is Philadelphia. 2013 was a year in which the city experienced unbelievable drops in crime. Due to police officers’ use of data analysis as well as the appointing of new staff, high crime areas in Philadelphia saw startling drops in crime.
Big Data Software
Police departments of today need to find new strategies to maximize new technology solutions including video for surveillance, sensors for gunshot, social media and others. The information provided by these helps to make it possible for officers to both effectively and quickly prevent and respond to criminal activities.
However, in order to prevent an “information overload” by all this data is where law enforcement utilizes the Big Data concept. The concept of Big Data encompasses taking data from many different sources and evaluating the reliability and accuracy of all the data. The data can then be used to make critical analyses or decisions based on the information in order to keep citizens safe.
How do police stations do this? Big Data solutions comprised of software for use by law enforcement is what makes it possible. For instance, IBM’s Crime Information Warehouse (CTM) combines predictive policing and crime analytics. Crime analytics are crucial for police departments to evaluate and respond to criminal activity in the constantly changing landscape of their jurisdictions.
ShotSpotter Leads Police Directly to the Location of Where a Gun Was Fired
ShotSpotter utilizes a huge assortment of acoustic sensors in a neighborhood. These sensors are specifically calibrated to identify the sound of gunfire. The sensors coupled with software capable of analyzing sound in real time and pinpointing the exact latitude and longitude of the location where each round was fired provide police with the ability to find the shooter quickly. Additionally, when non-gunfire sound triggers the sensors, the software filters them and sends the sound to especially trained officers who confirm that the sound is gunfire before patrol officers are alerted.
According to Alex Knapp at Forbes, the ShotSpotter company reported that in 30 cities data was pulled from 7,584 incidents of gunfire. A total of 26,617 rounds were fired in these incidents. Just one individual incident involved 63 rounds being fired. With this data, they were able to conclude that:
• 63% of gunfire occurs between 8pm and 4am of local time.
• 54% of gunfire happens on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Especially for predictive policing, data such as this is always very useful for law enforcement.