Today, GovLoop hosted an illuminating webinar about local governments and law enforcement officials utilizing analytics to help keep communities safe. As the landscape of our nation is changing and technology is becoming more advanced, it is imperative that law enforcement agencies stay up to date and employ all resources available to keep us safe. During the webinar, we spoke with Mike Reade, a Public Safety Business Value Consultant with IBM, and Dr. Rick Rosenfeld, a Curators Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at University of Missouri and Criminologist in Residence at St. Louis Police Department. Below, I briefly summarize their inspiring presentations, but you can also watch the archived event and read our recent report, “Smarter Cities: Public Safety in the Digital Age.”
Mike Reade, Using Smarter Analytics to Keep Communities Safe
Implementing intelligent law enforcement operations involves improving public safety through fast, transparent access to real-time, cross-department information. Currently, there are many issues law enforcement departments face due to dated data operations, such as the inability to share data, inefficient data analysis, inability to share data, and difficult analyzing and revealing patterns in data. Through the use of better technology and analytics, law enforcement agencies can mitigate these issues and greatly improve public safety.
Technological advances help jurisdictions begin taking a smarter approach to law enforcement. The traditional approach had many disconnected and conflicting data sources, long-range predictions for trends and directions, and departments operating individually in a disconnected silo. The smarter approach integrates trusted data including video, sensors, and voice, promotes detailed and actionable near-term predictions, and coordinates actions across the city and stakeholders.
The smarter approach requires agencies to develop five key competencies to create a safer more desirable environment for citizens and the community. These include: (1) access to relevant data, (2) integrated, trusted information, (3) responder operational insight, (4) proactive planning and decision making, and (5) unified threat assessment and responses. Together, these competencies will assist agencies in optimizing community resources to anticipate, prevent, and respond quickly to public safety and security threats.
To achieve these competencies, agencies must utilize analytics to enable better decision-making, outcomes, and performance. There are several different types of analytics that the department can employ, such as (1) entity analytics, (2) descriptive analytics, (3) predictive analytics, (4) prescriptive analytics, (5) content analytics, and (6) web/social analytics. It is extremely important that when utilizing these analytics, the department has a system that consolidates the information for the analytics into a simply presentation that a law enforcement officer can access easily from the office or the frontline. This presentation will provide the officer with all the information he/she needs to make informed decision in the present and not based off of past information.
Dr. Richard Rosenfeld, Developing an Integrated Database for Monitoring Armed Offenders in St. Louis
Monitoring and controlling criminal possession of firearms is one of the biggest issues for St. Louis, Missouri. To mitigate this problem, St. Louis city and criminal justice officials have proposed adding an Armed Offenders Docket to the circuit court. This docket would devote special attention to persons charged with firearm-related offenses. The ultimate goal of this project is to promote greater consistency and transparency in system processing.
In implementing the docket, St. Louis faced a major issue in that there was an information gap in monitoring the progress of cohorts of offenders through the criminal justice process, from arrest, to formal charging, adjudication, sentencing, and post-sentencing outcomes. It was very easy to find an individual offenders information. However, there was no way to see everything on a system wide level. This system wide information was necessary to know if the new docket made a difference.
To fix this problem, they designed an integrated criminal justice database. This database (1) extracted key data elements from existing agency-specific data silos, (2) merged the elements with common identifiers to permit assessment of system performance, and (3) minimized the burden on agency IT staff by installing web-based data extraction facilities in each of the separate systems. Today, there are still several outstanding issues including cost, accessibility and use, extending the system to other offenses, public access, establishing proof of concept, coordinating with agencies and leadership, and marketing the system to other jurisdictions.
Keeping our communities safe is a critical factor in their economic viability. To learn more about law enforcement officials utilizing analytics to help keep communities safe, check out the archived event and our recent report, “Smarter Cities: Public Safety in the Digital Age.”
Special thanks to the sponsors of the amazing webinar!