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
Every 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.
As Chief James Craig discussed in Detroit Police Department: Renewing Hope Through A Safer Motor City, we have been revolutionizing the ways we deter, respond to and solve crime through our Project Green Light initiative. Our very own Real-Time Crime Center, in the heart of downtown Detroit, is where I work as an analyst, virtually patrolling crime hotspots and providing officers with live support as they respond to active incidents. We are fully staffed, day and night, viewing real-time video surveillance feeds, officer locations, and computer-aided dispatch information all through CommandCentral Aware to monitor high-crime areas of the city and help officers interrupt crime or suspicious activity before it escalates.
The focus is on officer and citizen safety. We pay special attention to problem areas and when officers respond to potentially dangerous situations, make sure that it is safe. I can view video feeds to make sure that the incident area isn’t set up to ambush an officer and also provide real-time information to the officer that is responding to better prepare them for what’s to come.
At first it was difficult to make sure that everyone understood how we could provide intelligence to officers on the street. I think the more we have been doing this, the better we have become broadcasting our information, and the better officers have become at understanding what we can provide to them. Now we’re at the point where they are calling us and saying "did you get that, did you get that on video, what can you provide me with and what can you help me with".
I moved to Detroit for this job. I live downtown near three Project Green Lights gas stations where I stop to get gas and see first hand a renewed feeling of safety in the community. Recently we’ve had stories of people pulling into gas stations when they are fearing that a crime is about to happen because they know that we’re watching and they know that we could get first responders there quickly. I know that what we do right now as analysts is contributing on the streets every day and it only has the potential to become more impactful. The more cameras we deploy and the further we expand our Real-Time Crime Center, the more people will want to move downtown because of the attractions, the entertainment, the nightlife and most importantly the feeling of safety.
See more about how the Detroit Police Department is transforming their operations with the help of Analysts like Ryan Terrell and CommandCentral Aware at motorolasolutions.com/detroit.
Ryan Terrell is an Intelligence Analyst at Detroit Police Department’s Real-Time Crime Center
No matter what seat you are reading this from, it is an undeniable fact that Detroit has had a lot of bad press in past years. However, the city of Detroit is making a comeback in a strong way. In addition to a developing technology scene and momentous renovations across the city, the proud men and women who serve and protect this city are combating and reducing violent crime in unprecedented ways.
In assessing the state of the city two years ago, we discovered that at least 25% of our violent crime occurred in and around gas stations. That was the driving force for Project Green Light. Piloted in January 2016, this program equips high-crime gas stations around the city with security cameras that stream live video feeds directly to analyst positions equipped with Command Central Aware at our real-time crime center.
The innovative technology that CommandCentral Aware brings to the table, coupled with our real-time crime center has revolutionized how we respond to crime. We now can patrol virtually, viewing activities as they occur and simultaneously communicating with those in the field, enabling a safer, more informed response.
Analysts on “virtual patrol” have the ability to alert officers over the radio about crimes in progress, essentially communicating out specifics about the location and suspects involved and even sending out pictures and videos to help those in the field make better decisions about how to approach each situation.
In the last seven months alone violent crime has dropped 50% at the eight pilot gas station locations as a result of Project Green Light. Our citizens are feeling safer and have even taken refuge at these locations using them as safe havens until help arrives. Project Green Light Detroit is just another example of our commitment to making the city of Detroit among the safest in the country.
See how the future of Detroit is evolving and how Project Green Light is helping Detroit Police Department renew hope through a safer motor city at motorolasolutions.com/detroit.
Chief James Craig, is Chief of Police at Detroit Police Department
How are recent events involving attacks on police officers impacting our customers? While many communities are showing support to their local law enforcement officers, many others are showing mistrust and disappointment. Through immersive research and ride alongs with police agencies across North America, the CTO research team has gained insights into how technology can help our customers through these challenging times.
Increasing threat to officer safety
Uniforms and marked police cars are making officers easy targets. I’ve seen officers using safety tactics like parking in lots that are well-lit so that they can see someone coming from a distance or standing with their backs against a wall in public places, but the growing threat to their safety demands other approaches. This is an area where technology can make a big difference. For example, video analytics can help by alerting officers to approaching threats. Predictive analytics can help steer them away from potentially dangerous areas or direct them to relatively safer parking areas when they need to write reports.
Changing processes and dynamic workflows
Routine processes make it easy for potential attackers to plan attacks based on careful surveillance of officers’ jobs. For example, shift change is one of the most vulnerable times in their day - knowledge of when shift change occurs could be misused. In order to avoid these situations, we may see agencies changing their routines. There is also a growing element of unpredictability in every call they respond to. The nature of their workflows is becoming more and more dynamic and predetermined protocols may not be able to help less experienced officers react appropriately. Context and relevancy engines as well as virtual partners will play an important role going forward in enabling and assisting officers.
Increasing tensions resulting in officers on heightened alert
I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase “hours of boredom punctuated by moments of terror” that is often used to describe the nature of police work. That very nature is changing. These days officers are almost always in the state of heightened alert or heightened awareness which imposes considerable burdens on their cognitive abilities. This state of mind combined with the information overload that they’re already experiencing is going to require that solutions are designed to minimize distractions. Patrol car crashes due to distracted driving are almost always a top-of-mind concern in our conversations with command officers. This is why our purpose-built, interoperable apps ecosystem will play a key role in providing mission critical intelligence and situational awareness on appropriate interaction platforms based on the user’s context and environment. Our deep knowledge of High Velocity Human Factors principles will be key in creating intelligent solutions that are simple and intuitive enough to assist officers in their state of heightened alert.
Reduced proactive policing
All the negative coverage about police in the media has taken a toll on officer morale. It has manifested in officers retreating from fear of being attacked, reprimanded or indicted. In some areas it is causing them to be less proactive. But command officers recognize that they still have a job to do and are finding ways to encourage proactive policing. Through our research we’re learning about new processes and systems that agencies are establishing in order to encourage officers to stay proactive and we’re investigating ways in which technology can play a role.
Demand for accountability; need to rebuild trust and credibility
The recent events in our society, increasing mistrust in police and negative media coverage have eroded the credibility of officers in many areas. There is increasing demand by civilians for transparency and accountability. Technology that can help bridge police-community relations, help maintain accountability and rebuild trust and credibility is going to be valuable to our customers. Solutions like Si500 and CommandCentral Vault are great examples.
A large part of what officers do today is respond to solve crimes that have already occurred. For them to rebuild trust with their communities, they need to be seen in a different light - as community partners. And the more they can do to help their communities “upstream” by collaborating with social services, mental health, education and other entities, the better off they will be in reducing and preventing crime “downstream.” Big data and predictive analytics, combined with interoperable apps will be key in achieving this. In order to solve crimes quickly, collaboration with the community is key. We’re designing our solutions to enable effective communication between law enforcement agencies and their communities.
Changes in police training
On one hand, the growing threat of terrorism and attacks on officers require them to be prepared for the worst. But on the other hand, broken police-community relations in many places require officers to be trained on how to empathize and engage with their communities. We’re starting to see changes in police training, in the way they approach their jobs and in the way they interact with their communities. As they adopt and embrace these new approaches, we’ll be looking at the impact on their workflows and technology needs.
Our users can’t always tell us what they need, but if we watch them closely they’ll show us. Through immersive and observational research with our customers we will continue to uncover unarticulated and unmet needs that will drive future innovation.
For more information on Smart Public Safety Solutions visit www.motorolasolutions.com/spss
Esha Bhargava, MSI, Director, User Experience Research and Human Factors