Category Archives: crime mapping

A Look at Digital Policing

For law enforcement and other police service agencies, the ability to rapidly manage and interpret massive amounts of data is of paramount importance. Front line officers require timely and accurate data that enables intelligence-led decision making, and officers must be deployed proactively in order to deter and prevent criminal behavior.

abmpegasus-intelligence-led-policingAs we have written before, the true lifeblood of effective policing is data. With disparate and poorly integrated systems, however, the intelligence that can be gleaned from that data is mitigated. The information is too often hidden or lost.

In order to better utilize data – coming from sources such as Records Management Systems, Computer Aided Dispatch, Criminal Intelligence Systems, and other such repositories – innovative law enforcement agencies turn to technology-agnostic, scalable analytics platforms which blend historical and real-time data to both solve today’s crimes and predict tomorrow’s. Supported by purpose-built law enforcement analytics, agencies can keep pace with growing volumes of data and stay one step ahead of the criminals via actionable insights.

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For disparate data to be transformed to actionable insights, law enforcement agencies must deal with several challenges:

  • Timeliness – Unlike fine wine, data tends to lose value over time. Crime happens in real time, and what was the case six months ago may not be the case today.
  • Reliability – The data absolutely must be trusted by the officers entrusted with using it.
  • Fragmentation – If the data is overly fragmented or otherwise unavailable, it becomes cumbersome to use and holds little value.
  • Auditability – Without a clear and recognized audit trail, agencies are not able to effectively track the decisions made in the field versus what the analytics pointed to.

5WAn analytics solution helps blend data from disparate sources in order to provide officers with a trusted, single view of the truth. Simply put, the right analytics software will help agencies manage the challenges above.

While there has been a ton of negative news related to predictive policing, recently, using an analytics platform approach allows agencies to consolidate, analyze, and utilize ALL of their data. This analysis can – and does – help agencies become more efficient and more effective.

Overland Park senior crime analyst Jamie May joins Crime Tech Solutions

September 16, 2016 – (Leander, TX)  Crime Tech Solutions, a fast-growing provider of low cost / high performance crime fighting software and analytics is delighted to announce the addition of Jamie May as senior analyst and strategic advisor to the company.

jamiemayMs. May has spent over 17 years as a crime and intelligence analyst for Overland Park Police Department in Kansas, and is a recognized expert in crime analysis, mapping, and criminal intelligence. She has sat on critical crime analysis committees including the International Association of Crime Analysts’ Ethics Committee (IACA) and is a past Vice President / Secretary at Mid American Regional Crime Analyst Network (MARCAN).

“Jamie brings an incredible amount of user experience and innovation to the company”, said Kevin Konczal, Crime Tech Solutions’ VP of Sales. “She’s been active in this community for years, and co-authored the ground-breaking guide, GIS in Law Enforcement: Implementation Issues and Case Studies.”

“To me, Crime Tech Solutions represents a truly innovative company that understands how to develop and market very good technology at prices that most agencies can actually afford”, said Ms. May. “I’m looking forward to being part of the continued growth here.”

In her role with the company, Ms. May will interact with customers and prospects to help align the company’s solution strategy with market and user requirements.

black versionCrime Tech Solutions, who earlier this year acquired TN based Case Closed Software, delivers unique value to customers with comprehensive investigative case management software, sophisticated link analysis tools, criminal intelligence management software, and crime mapping technology that includes some of the industry’s best analytics and reporting capabilities.

 

 

 

 

Using crime analysis solutions to take a ‘Byte’ out of crime

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Law enforcement agencies everywhere are tasked with reducing and investigating crime with fewer and fewer resources at their disposal. “To protect and serve” is the highest responsibilities one can sign up for, particularly in light of recent well-publicized criticisms of police by activists in every city.

That responsibility weighs even heavier in a world with no shortage of criminals and terrorists. There’s never enough money in the budget to adequately deal with all of the issues that face an individual agency on a daily basis. Never enough feet on the street, as they say.

New Tools for Age-Old Problems

Perhaps that’s why agencies everywhere are moving to fight crime with an evolving 21st century weapon – law enforcement software including investigative case management, link and social network analysis, and, importantly, crime analytics with geospatial and temporal mapping.

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Crime analytics and investigation software have proven themselves to be valuable tools in thwarting criminal activity by helping to better define resource allocation, target investigations more accurately, and enhancing public safety,

According to some reports, law enforcement budgets have been reduced by over 80% since the early 2000s. Still, agencies are asked to do more and more, with less and less.

Analytics in Policing

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Predictive Analytics for Policing

Analytics in law enforcement  play a key role in helping law enforcement agencies better forecast what types of crimes are most likely to occur in a certain area within a certain window of time. While no predictive analytics solution offers the clarity of a crystal ball, they can be effective in affecting crime reduction and public safety.

Predictive analysis, in essence, is taking data from disparate sources, analyzing them and then using the results to anticipate, prevent and respond more effectively to future crime. Those disparate data sources typically include historical crime data from records management systems, calls for service/dispatch information, tip lines, confidential informant information, and specialized criminal intelligence data.

The Five W’s of Predictive Analytics

Within this disparate data lie the 5 W’s of information that can be used by crime analysis software to build predictions. Those key pieces include:

  1. Arrest records – who committed crimes
  2. Geospatial data – where crimes have occurred
  3. Temporal data – when crimes have occurred
  4. Statistical data – what crimes have occurred
  5. Investigation data – why (and how) the crimes occurred

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Using the 5 W’s, agencies are able to gain insight and make predictions about likely future criminal behavior. For example, if a certain type of crime (what) tends to occur in ‘this’ area (where) at ‘this’ time (when), and by ‘this’ type of individual (who) for ‘this’ reason (why)… it would be wise to deploy resources in that area at that time in order to prevent the incidents from ever occurring. This, of course, is a dramatic over-simplification of the types of analytics that make up predictive policing, but illustrates the general concept well.

Although criminals will always try to be one step ahead of the law, agencies deploying predictive analytics are able to maximize the effectiveness of its staff and other resources, increasing public safety, and keeping bad guys off the street.

More about Crime Tech Solutionsblack version

Crime Tech Solutions is an Austin, TX based provider of crime and fraud analytics software for commercial and law enforcement groups. Our offerings include sophisticated Case Closed™ investigative case management and major case management, GangBuster™ gang intelligence software, powerful link analysis software, evidence management, mobile applications for law enforcement, comprehensive crime analytics with mapping and temporal reporting, and 28 CFR Part 23 compliant criminal intelligence database management systems.

Data continues to influence policing

Great article by Megan Favignano at New Press Now. Original article at http://www.newspressnow.com/news/local_news/data-continues-to-influence-policing/article_ef968ba2-389c-5289-b341-a9818ae231d7.html

A copy of the article follows:

5WA recent report questions how some police departments are using data to forecast future crimes.

The report examined how departments are utilizing predictive policing, a computer software that uses data to forecast where crime may happen, who may commit it and who could be potential victims.

Logan Koepke, an analyst who coauthored the report, said the handful of departments that use the software don’t appear to give patrol officers much guidance on what to do with the information provided.

“One problem we’ve seen is there is not a lot of direction from police departments or from vendors about what officers in the field should do once they look at a prediction,” Koepke said.

Upturn, an analysis organization out of Washington, D.C., that works with a variety of groups, published the report “Stuck in a Pattern” last month. “Predictive policing,” the report states, is a marketing term popularized by vendors who sell the software.

The group’s research showed areas that use the software often don’t engage the public in discussion about predictive policing and questioned whether or not departments who use it are measuring the impact the data-driven tool has on policing and crime rates.

AnalyticsHow police departments nationwide utilize crime statistics and the software available to patrol officers monitoring incidents has evolved a lot in the past couple decades, Sgt. Tracy Barton with the St. Joseph Police Department said. Barton started as a patrol officer 20 years ago. He said having software like police have today would have been useful.

“I was in District 7, which is the Midtown area. It would have been really cool to know where crime is occurring in District 7 and that I could look that up on a computer and have it at my fingertips where I could see it on an up-to-date basis,” Barton said.

In the past, crime analysts used physical maps and mathematical algorithms to do what software does instantly today. Barton, the St. Joseph Police Department’s crime analyst, uses software that takes into account crimes reported to police to show crime hot spots in the city. A map of those hot spots is available online. Officers, he said, have access to a more in-depth version of that hot spots map, which includes extra details about the area and the crimes occurring.

The hot spots approach St. Joseph police use is most helpful in preventing crime when a series of crimes occur or when there is a crime pattern in a given area, he said. St. Joseph’s small size, Barton added, poses an extra challenge.

Crime analytics Mapping Predicitive Policing

The St. Joseph Police Department has had its current software for just a few years. It doesn’t fit the definition of the predictive policing software Upturn outlines in the recent report. The software used locally depends on crime reports police receive. Predictive policing also looks at what types of business are located in an area, if repeat offenders live nearby and other information to predict where crimes may occur. Typically, according to the recent report, predictive policing takes one of two approaches, focusing either on place-based data or person-based data to make predictions.

Kevin Bryant, sociology and criminology professor at Benedictine College, said when people hear predictive policing described, they often think of the movie “Minority Report.” The software, he said, is nothing like in the movies.

“Predictive policing now has kind of morphed into better proactive methods that are based on prediction to some extent in forecasting risk,” Bryant said of how data-driven policing has changed over time. “But what we’ve learned through evaluation studies is that it’s really more important what the police do when they’re in a crime hot spot.”

Ba10ryant worked with the Shawnee, Kansas, Police Department on research that looked at what he calls “smart policing.” In his research and in other work he has read, Bryant said it’s important for police to have a high visibility in crime hot spots, for officers to make connections with the public and for them to avoid staying in crime hot spots for extended periods of time.

When police are in a hot spot for too long, public surveys show area residents feel like they are being picked on rather than protected, he said. Predictive policing takes into account businesses in a given area. Bryant said some types of facilities are at a higher risk of victimization and others can attract crime to an area.

“Knowing where bars, taverns, restaurants, gas stations, convenience stores are, we can actually use their locations as a means of forecasting where crime might emerge at a later date,” Bryant said. “Part of predictive policing is predicting who the risky offenders are and that can be controversial.”

Upturn’s report also explored an ongoing debate among criminologists on the impact of using crime reports when determining patrol.

“Criminologists have long emphasized that crime reports and other statistics gathered by the police are not an accurate record of the crime that happens in a community,” the report states.

Police statistics, Koepke said, reflect officer enforcement efforts, not just crime.

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Crime Hot Spots and Risk Terrain Modeling

abmpegasus-intelligence-led-policing
A typical ‘hot spot’ in crime analytics

By Tyler Wood, Operations Manager at Crime Tech Solutions.

One of the many functions crime analysis performs is the identification of “hot spots”, or geographical areas that seem to be hubs for criminal activity. Identifying these hot spots through best practices in geospatial crime mapping allows law enforcement to focus their efforts in areas that need them most. The trouble that law enforcement and crime analysts have encountered is displacement – the fact that once a hot spot is “cleared”, crime seems to pop up again in a different location. The good news is that the displacement is never 100%, so policing hot spots is important – it’s just not a magic bullet.

To solve this problem, a team at Rutgers University’s School of Criminal Justice set out to develop new methodologies that would result in peaceful outcomes that are built to last instead of merely temporary.

The difference between the old approach and the new approach is stark. Where police and analysts used to focus solely on geographical concentration of crimes, Risk Terrain Modeling examines the factors that contribute to such dense concentrations to begin with. Rutgers team have identified several characteristics of any given geographical location which may attract or generate crime. Their technology takes these characteristics, which include socioeconomic data, physical layout, types of local businesses, etc… and uses them to calculate the likelihood crime occurring in the area. This allows law enforcement to be proactive in the prevention of crime in these areas.

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Advanced crime analytics show statistically significant risk factors.

The technique seems to be highly effective. After a trial run in New Haven, CT, police were able to identify sixteen “statistically significant risk factors that underlie violent crime occurrences.” A high percentage of violent crime in New Haven during the test period occurred in locations already identified by the concept of risk terrain modeling. Though the technology is still new, it is clearly showing impressive results already.

Shutting down hot spots is important policing, and risk terrain modeling technology allows analysts and law enforcement officers to be even more proactive in their prevention of crime.

The author, Tyler Wood, is head of operations at Austin, TX based Crime Tech Solutions – an innovator in crime analytics and law enforcement crime-fighting software. The clear price/performance leader for crime fighting software, the company’s offerings include sophisticated Case Closed™ investigative case management and major case management, GangBuster™ gang intelligence software, powerful link analysis software, evidence management, mobile applications for law enforcement, comprehensive crime analytics with mapping and predictive policing, and 28 CFR Part 23 compliant criminal intelligence database management systems.)

NBC News gets rare look at NYPD CompStat meeting

Posted by Tyler Wood, Operations Manager at Crime Tech Solutions.

NYPD

NBC News was recently allowed a rare opportunity to sit in on a CompStat (computer statistics) meeting with the New York Police Department and they shared their experience with their viewers.

Watch the short video HERE.

(NOTE: Crime Tech Solutions is an Austin, TX based provider of crime and fraud analytics software for commercial and law enforcement groups. We proudly support the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIU) and International Association of Crime Analysts (IACA). Our offerings include sophisticated link analysis software, comprehensive crime analytics with mapping and predictive policing, and criminal intelligence database management systems.)

China building big data platform for pre-crime

Re-posted by Crime Tech Solutions – Your Source for Investigation Software

It’s “precrime” meets “thoughtcrime.” China is using its substantial surveillance apparatus as the basis for a “unified information environment” that will allow authorities to profile individual citizens based upon their online behaviors, financial transactions, where they go, and who they see. The authorities are watching for deviations from the norm that might indicate someone is involved in suspicious activity. And they’re doing it with a hand from technology pioneered in the US.

Tiananmen_Square_Beijing_China_1988_1-640x447As Defense One’s Patrick Tucker reports, the Chinese government is leveraging “predictive policing” capabilities that have been used by US law enforcement, and it has funded research into machine learning and other artificial intelligence technologies to identify human faces in surveillance video. The Chinese government has also used this technology to create a “Situation-Aware Public Security Evaluation (SAPE) platform” that predicts “security events” based on surveillance data, which includes anything from actual terrorist attacks to large gatherings of people.

The Chinese government has plenty of data to feed into such systems. China invested heavily in building its surveillance capabilities in major cities over the past five years, with spending on “domestic security and stability” surpassing China’s defense budget—and turning the country into the biggest market for security technology. And in December, China’s government gained a new tool in surveillance: anti-terrorism laws giving the government even more surveillance powers and requiring any technology companies doing business in China to provide assistance in that surveillance.

The law states that companies “shall provide technical interfaces, decryption and other technical support and assistance to public security and state security agencies when they are following the law to avert and investigate terrorist activities”—in other words, the sort of “golden key” that FBI Director James Comey has lobbied for in the US. For obvious reasons, the Chinese government is particularly interested in the outcome of the current legal confrontation between the FBI and Apple over the iPhone used by Syed Farook.

Bloomberg reports that China is harnessing all that data in an effort to perform behavioral prediction at an individual level—tasking the state-owned defense contractor China Electronics Technology Group to develop software that can sift through the online activities, financial transactions, work data, and other behavioral data of citizens to predict which will perform “terrorist” acts. The system could watch for unexpected transfers of money, calls overseas by individuals with no relatives outside the country, and other trigger events that might indicate they were plotting an illegal action. China’s definition of “terrorism” is more expansive than that of many countries.

At a news conference in December, China Electronics Technology Group Chief Engineer Wu Manqing told reporters, “We don’t call it a big data platform, but a united information environment… It’s very crucial to examine the cause after an act of terror, but what is more important is to predict the upcoming activities.”

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(NOTE: Crime Tech Solutions is an Austin, TX based provider of crime and fraud analytics software for commercial and law enforcement groups. We proudly support the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIU) and International Association of Crime Analysts (IACA). Our offerings include sophisticated link analysis software, comprehensive crime analytics with mapping and predictive policing, and criminal intelligence database management systems.)