FRESH IDEAS IN PUBLIC SAFETY


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      • Time To Take Out The Trash! Good Crime Analysis Relies On Clean Data

        Published 2 days ago by Daniel Seals
        • Intelligence
        • Law Enforcement

        So you’re getting into intelligence-led policing? But have you taken a look at your own data sets? And I mean a real good look. Over and over again I see departments make mistakes by going out and purchasing mapping software, intelligence software, and the like, put it immediately to use and then disagree with the output they receive. I speak to many of these departments, and after a quick look into their main data sets I find that they are falling into the old adage of garbage in, garbage out.

        So if you fall into the category I just described, you are by far not alone. As a matter of fact I would venture to say that you are in the majority. I even made the same mistakes when I began our intelligence-led policing initiative. I remember I was so excited to get going with our new software that I never bothered to really look at the data that I was putting into the system. After all, I had been using our records management system for 20 years, surely the data in it is correct, right? What I found was a resounding answer of no, it was not good data. Now don't get me wrong the basics of the data were correct, the type of crime, suspect, victim, things like that were solid. What was not so correct, however, was our mapping data and how our crime types translated into our software. Let's talk about a couple of things that you can do to turn your bad data into good data.

        First let's talk about mapping. Very few mapping systems, whether you are using GIS or some other type of mapping system, are always spot on. The reasons for these inaccuracies vary widely. From inaccurate GIS mapping at the onset, to duplicate addresses in your city that are only separated by a North-South or East-West designation, or simply user mistake at time of input.  Although I could not change these map points in my records management system (which would typically be your most logical fix), I could change them in our software. With just a few steps I was able to take my map, with an average of 150 inaccuracies a month, and turn it into a completely accurate crime map, with no inaccuracies.

        Now that we have fixed your mapping problem, let's talk about making sure your crime types are in the proper categories in order for you to get the proper Intel. Depending upon county, state, or locality, crime terms can vary widely. For instance, in my state, we don't use the term larceny, we use theft instead. We don't use the term embezzlement; we use a variety of codes under fraud. While these computer systems seem to do it all, it is our duty to make sure that our information is laid out correctly within our systems. If the data is in the wrong category, when you run a report on a specific crime type, you will be missing data in your final report. Luckily, our software allowed us to make crime type adjustments and rules for translation from our records management system. But similarly to the mapping, if your software doesn’t have that feature, you may otherwise have to make those adjustments directly to the records themselves.

        Without accurate data, it is impossible to do the crime analysis that aids your intelligence-led policing initiatives. This year let's make sure to strengthen our actionable intelligence by cleaning up our bad data.

        Coming up next we’ll discuss how to get your agency personnel familiar with using all the new capabilities at your disposal with a purpose-built crime analytics solution. Until then, check out our crime analytics resource site to learn more about how you can properly evaluate solutions so your mapping issues are a thing of the past.

        Read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series. 

        Daniel (D.J.) Seals is a Former Crime Analyst and Detective, and Current Public Safety Industry Expert at Motorola Solutions.

      • Getting Started: The Critical First Step For Implementing An Intelligence-Led Policing Model

        Published 9 days ago by Daniel Seals
        • Intelligence
        • Law Enforcement

        Compiling many different information sources is key to making intelligence-led policing work. So many times police departments are satisfied and content with the information they currently have. We tend to live in an informational world contained within the four walls of our departments, ignoring outside informational sources. Obviously the most immediate source of information will be your in house records management system which should be used in conjunction with those notebooks your officers keep with them on the road. Those little notebooks very rarely get included in your department's intelligence data, but are very often the most accurate source of direct intelligence involving the daily workings of your community. 

        Unfortunately, there still seems to be a divide between county Sheriff’s departments and municipal Police Departments, floating an ideal of “us and them”. This must be broken down in order to compile the next most important data set; that of your neighboring agencies. The criminal element within your jurisdiction does not stop committing crimes because they come to your city/county limits. We all understand that our criminals are also our neighboring agencies criminals. Criminals are irrespective of jurisdictional lines and do not care what color uniform you wear. As a matter of fact, it is in the criminal’s best interest to move their criminal escapades around. They know we do not share information as freely as we should. We must combat this by breaking down the informational barriers between departments. By sharing local intelligence, we can finally act as one law enforcement body and not individual agencies.

        After you have a grasp and have taken full advantage of all of your local intelligence sources, it is time to... yes I am going to say it… reach out to your state and federal sources. If we thought the perceived divide between local agencies was wide, then the perceived divide between local agencies and state and federal agencies must be the Grand Canyon. However, since 9/11, state and federal agencies have begun to understand the great impact local intelligence has on national security. Case in point; it was discovered, after the fact, that the terrorists involved in 9/11 drove through the state of Georgia. Not only did they drive through, they were traffic-stopped a number of times. Even though some of the terrorists were already on a national watch list, they were never flagged because so many of our smaller local systems were not directly linked with the national system. Reach out to your state and local agencies, join their intelligence sharing meetings/e-mail servers, and don’t just read what they send out - contribute!

        Would 9/11 have happened as it was planned had one of those traffic stops flagged the terrorists? Have we really moved on toward sharing intelligence? What steps are you taking? Are they really forward steps, or just “going through the motions”? It is up to you to reach out to all possible intelligence sources, compile them, make that information accessible to your stakeholders and put intelligence-led policing into action!

        Stay tuned as I dive into your next step when implementing intelligence-led policing in my next blog - taking out the trash. Until then feel free to check out our crime analytics resource site to learn more about how a purpose-built crime analytics solution can aid your intelligence-led policing efforts by helping you discover new crime patterns hidden in your data.

        Read Part 1 of this series: The Intelligence-Led Policing Definition: Adopting Data-Driven Policing

        Daniel (D.J.) Seals is a Former Crime Analyst and Detective, and Current Public Safety Industry Expert at Motorola Solutions.

      • The Intelligence-Led Policing Definition: Adopting Data-Driven Policing

        Published 23 days ago by Daniel Seals
        • Intelligence
        • Law Enforcement

        You are probably already doing it and just don’t realize it. Ask any of your veteran officers, “where are our highest crime areas?”, “who do we deal with the most?” and they will all have answers for you, and they will be pretty similar. This is what intelligence-led is all about: taking the information you already have and doing something useful with it.  That last part is usually the gap in most departments ‒ doing something with it. Officers have this information, but rarely do they put it to use or share it with other officers and command staff. This is for a multitude of reasons, as officers are told: “stay in your zone/beat”, “drive around and make sure the public sees you”, and “don’t get into anything so you can answer your calls”. All generally good tenants of policing, but don’t allow for the intelligence-led “focused” way of policing.    

        If you know where your crime is generally and where it isn’t generally, then why not focus your patrols in the areas where crime is? All too often policing turns into a game of, “drive around and see if you find something while answering calls in between.” This is akin to the “spray and pray” method of firearms, where you fire your weapon multiple times in multiple directions with the assumption that you will surely hit something. We would never teach our officers to do this. We teach them to be precise and exacting on the firearms range. How about using the same precise and exacting nature in the rest of their job? Why not go to where you know the crime is and hang out there until you get a call?  I guarantee your mere increased presence in these high crime areas will, at the very least, disrupt the criminal element in these areas. Now, by no means am I suggesting a neglect of the other areas of your city, just a focus on the higher crime areas. This is, of course, a very elementary breakdown of intelligence-led policing, but it’s an easy illustration of a starting point.

        Intelligence-led policing is taking all of the information your officers already have, coupling it with other local, state, and federal intelligence, adding it to the crime data you have compiled in your records, and mixing it together to create an intelligence product that your entire department can use. Again, this is not far from what you are doing now, it’s just a more structured way of putting it all together and, most importantly, getting it out to your officers so they can use it every day, all day.

        Stay tuned as I look at the critical first step for implementing an intelligence-led policing model in my next blog. Until then feel free to check out our crime analytics resource site to learn more about how a purpose-built crime analytics solution can aid your intelligence-led policing efforts by helping you discover new crime patterns hidden in your data.

        Daniel (D.J.) Seals is a Former Crime Analyst and Detective, and Current Public Safety Industry Expert at Motorola Solutions.

      • Better Data. Greater Awareness. Lives Saved. RapidSOS Expands Into CommandCentral

        Published 43 days ago by Bradley Janitz
        • Intelligence
        • EMS
        • NG9-1-1 Dispatch
        • Fire
        • Law Enforcement

        Precise 9-1-1 caller location from RapidSOS has been integrated with CommandCentral to help find and better respond to those in need.

        In April, we announced a partnership with RapidSOS to deliver precise location information for U.S. 9-1-1 calls made from smartphones. The initial integration shared precise location across the emergency call, from citizens in need to call-takers using our CallWorks application. We are now pleased to announce the expansion of this valuable functionality, and more, into our CommandCentral platform, starting with CommandCentral Inform.

        CommandCentral Inform, which provides a map-based, common operating picture of events and resource locations, will now include a 9-1-1 call data layer to display caller locations alongside other critical operational information. But even better, is the ability for CommandCentral Inform to also display additional data sent from the smartphone upon a call being made. This could include health information of the caller, demographic information and even telematics from connected cars, wearables and other IoT data sources - all to provide greater context to the call.

        By expanding into the CommandCentral platform, this vital information is now not only accessible to Call Takers using CallWorks, but also Supervisors, Analysts, Command Staff and even First Responders who are in need of increased situational awareness for better decision making.

        This integration also shows our increased commitment to providing the most seamlessly integrated public safety software suite, from call intake to incident resolution. “We are able to provide an uninterrupted flow of information. This creates more efficient and streamlined workflows” said Andrew Sinclair, the newly appointed head of Motorola Solutions’ Software Enterprise. “Because of integration across the portfolio, first responders are able to act more collaboratively and efficiently and ultimately be that much more successful.”

        "The integration of data from the RapidSOS NG9-1-1 Clearinghouse into CommandCentral Inform creates an unprecedented flow of information around an emergency," said Michael Martin, CEO of RapidSOS. "The result is accelerated response, first responders with unparalleled situational awareness, and lives saved."

        This new integration will be on display at the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) 2017 Annual Conference & Expo August 13th - 16th in Denver, Colorado at both the Motorola Solutions booth #801 and RapidSOS booth #747.

        Bradley Janitz is Global Marketing Manager at Motorola Solutions.

      • 6 New Findings, 1 Massive Conclusion: The 2016 Law Enforcement Industry Survey

        Published Feb 08 2017, 7:25 PM by James Wolfinbarger
        • Intelligence
        • Law Enforcement

        The 2016 Law Enforcement Survey Results are in. What did we learn?

        Better policing relies on technology innovation that improves community relations.

        We learned that you are looking to connect with the community in new ways to better fight crime. And, you want to leverage existing data, new multi-media sources of information and smart devices to do so.

        In helping to deter crime and protect the community, survey respondents acknowledged an understanding of the value of data collected from answering thousands of emergency calls and text messages, body-worn cameras, surveillance cameras and records systems. By equipping officers with the most necessary information from the start of an incident, better judgment can be applied when making decisions, citizen engagement improved and ultimately lives saved.

        Respondents also acknowledged needing additional tools like 311 call-taking systems, social media feeds, citizen tip lines and community available crime reports to create a two-way dialogue with citizens about activities in their community and reduce the need to fulfill individual requests.

        During an incident, the requirement to access data continues to rise, year-over-year. In fact, Chiefs (78%), Captains (83%) and Patrol Officers (70%) exhibited a higher demand for always available data. Not unexpectedly, video in particular is still soaring in popularity with 90% of law enforcement agencies using video. Having extra “eyes”, or a virtual cop, on the street allows officers to react more quickly, identify perpetrators, gain valuable evidence, and close cases with more visual context making the community and officers safer.

        These findings also led us to a new and telling conclusion. As law enforcement personnel exchange more and new information with peers, command staff, neighboring agencies and citizens, they need to do it effectively, but it is not a one size fits all approach. For peers it may mean a quick text, for citizens a phone call. It all comes down to building relationships and leveraging the right tools to quickly build situational awareness around an incident or assure citizens you are being transparent. This has translated in a booming desire for additional smart devices and mobile applications to supplement traditional means of communication.

        The key to success in implementing these new technologies was also resoundingly apparent from the survey. To meet these new needs people must be able to work together seamlessly, across networks, devices and applications so agencies and citizens can benefit.

        To learn more about how we’re helping agencies put it all together, join me as I kick off our 2017 Smart Public Safety Webinar Series where throughout the year we will explore the different facets of public safety operations and how new technologies can work together to help you improve community relations.

        Author: Colonel James M. Wolfinbarger (Ret.) is Public Safety Industry Expert

      • ‘Tis the season to be stealing!

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:30 PM by Daniel Seals
        • Intelligence
        • Law Enforcement

        Detroit_Project_Greenlight_-8944.jpgEvery holiday season, police departments see the same pattern - shoplifting, entering autos, burglaries, and general theft increase exponentially. This occurs until we ring in the New Year and our “super cop” selves solve all the crimes and lock up all the bad guys causing those crimes to decrease…right? Well, not exactly. Truth is those types of crimes increase because of the seasonal increase in “criminal opportunity”.

        Let me explain. The holiday season gives the criminal a once a year opportunity to prey on our good citizens who are not concerning themselves with safety and security. Instead, they are concerned with running and buying, hustle and bustle, wrapping and cooking…oh yeah, and peace, good will and all that other stuff. The criminal element sees this as a special holiday of their own; let’s call it “Stealapalooza”. So, what do we do about it? Same old, same old each year right? Not this year!

        We have all heard that the “greatest indicator of future crime is past criminal patterns”, so let’s use those past patterns to do some good. Even if you don’t have a criminal intelligence division, you surely have someone in your department who likes to dig into your crime data; perhaps it’s that officer who needs a publisher to approve their reports. Sure their over-detailed retelling of removing a cat from a tree has been annoying in the past, but now you can put their endless thirst for detail to good use!

        Start with small focused searches of your high traffic commercial areas, looking for patterns of date and time in your theft reports. Make sure officer
        "ambitious" has access to multiple years of reports and have them compare the past holiday seasons theft reports, week to week. I said week to week, not week by week. What I mean is, compare the same weeks from different years to each other, and don’t compare November to December and so on. Compare December week one year one to December week one year two…apples to apples, not apples to oranges.

        Seeing as you have chosen a paper hound to do this task, I am confident it won’t take them long to identify time of day, day of week patterns in your theft data. But now, what do you do with that data?

        Trust it and the patterns contained in it! Begin to direct your officers to these past patterns, explaining what type of crime was in each pattern and the details surrounding those patterns. The proof will come in your increased arrests, but not only that, the increased officer presence in your newly proven holiday high crime areas will prevent more crime than you realize. (Until after Christmas and you compare this years’ numbers with your previous data.) Empower your officers with real data for real-time crime fighting and help your citizens to have a more peaceful holiday season!

        If you want see how you can automate this planning process with the advanced data analysis of CommandCentral Analytics and CommandCentral Predictive, make sure to join me for my webinar on November 15th at 12 noon CST. Sign up here.

        DJ Seals is an Industry Expert at Motorola Solutions.

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