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The news media, the public, and many politicians are placing increasing pressure on police departments to account for activities such as how they are operating, where they are operating, and who they are arresting. Click here to read more.
PoliceOne’s Editor in Chief Doug Wyllie recently spoke with Lieutenant John Moses of John’s Creek Police Department in Georgia about a new tool being used by the department, dubbed “PoliceView,” giving citizens greater visibility into the department’s efforts. PoliceView, utilizes SunGard Public Sector’s Public Connect solution, powered by Socrata’s open data, to improve both time and cost efficiency for officers in the department, while improving communication between the department and the community it serves.
“The best aspect of PoliceView is that it is proactive on the part of the police department — citizens can easily find the data they need — it is all available in a publicly digestible format,” said Lieutenant Moses.
Leveraging big data into a system like PoliceView can also help give departments greater insight into internal data related to arrests, convictions and response times. The agency can then make better-informed decisions about patrol staffing and deployment as necessary. Thanks to open data, Johns Creek PD has become more efficient internally, and been able to more easily educate the community about efforts as part of an ongoing dialogue.
“It’s time to provide a comprehensive, new view into the law enforcement community, where police officers can showcase the great work they do, and the public can understand how the system works. It is a dialogue we need to be having, and everyone will benefit from the experience. We are encouraged that agencies across the country understand this problem, and the value of open data in solving it,” said Chris Schoenmann, Program Manager, SunGard Public Sector.
It is a popular saying that most crimes are solved within the first 48 hours or they are not solved at all. It can be significantly more difficult for sworn officers of the law to bring together all the necessary pieces of information to solve a crime. Newport Beach Deputy Police Chief Dennis Birch believed he could put that paradigm to the test when armed with SunGard Public Sector’s Crime Analysis Plus (CA+), a tool that extends the shelf life of information collected by police to glean new insights about what is going on in a given community.
“Recently, we received a call about a prowler from one of our residents. After dispatching officers to investigate, he found no suspect but did collect information from the caller about the suspicious individual who had a flashlight and seemed interested in a Jaguar that was parked in the driveway,” Deputy Chief Birch recalled.
“Fast forward a few hours, an officer on patrol stopped an individual who was riding a bike that matched the description of a missing bike from a burglary in the same area as the prowling call. We booked and searched him, and discovered a set of Jaguar keys. Well, thanks to the keyword search in SunGard CA+, we were able to tie those keys to the Jaguar in the driveway from the prowling incident. We prevented car theft and found this suspect, thanks to CA+, and its integration with our records management system.”
This is just one story of how CA+’s search and mapping functions can be used to identify trends in crime, and help law enforcement officers solve crimes sometime after they occur.
Since March 2014, Newport Beach has been a user of CA+, which aggregates information collected about recorded crimes with an advanced mapping function that visually displays what types of crimes are occurring, where crimes are happening, when, and by whom. The system is fully integrated with CAD, RMS, and other elements of the SunGard Public Sector ONESolution suite, adding a critical function to an agency’s one-stop public safety and justice dashboard. The system pulls in information from ONESolution modules to let officers literally see on a map where arrests took places, in the context of where officers are patrolling. The platform leverages advanced GPS, meaning that users can configure maps to display accurate information about the topics they most need to learn about.
Chief Birch’s crime suppression team uses the keyword search function, which allows them to type in a single word (or words), to identify results of relevant crimes that have occurred in the community. “We often get complaints about surfers’ cars being broken into near the beach, so ‘surf’ has become one of the most popular search terms,” Chief Birch said. “With CA+, we have learned a lot more about where property theft is occurring, and where it is most likely to occur, and we’ve been able to modify our patrol patterns accordingly.”
The insights gleaned from CA+ are predictive, because an analysis of recent crime trends can help the department identify where incidents might happen next. For example, Chief Birch’s crime suppression unit was able to see that a higher volume of calls about house burglaries were happening around dinner time, meaning they might continue to happen at that same time and the agency should respond accordingly by deploying officers at that time. “The team uses the tool every day and pushes new information to patrol officers, who change patrol patterns to match recent crime trends,” Chief Birch adds.
Because CA+ records crimes and also police activity, it has helped the Newport Beach Police Department remain accountable to the community. “We have had some trouble with complaints from patrons at some of the bars near the beach,” Chief Birch said. “With CA+, we are able to report exactly what those complaints were, and what we did in response.” The heat maps created within CA+ help us visualize this data, which assists Newport Beach Police Department in internal resource management, and reporting to city council and the general public at large.
“Ultimately, we really like the CA+ tool, but it is more than that, it is the entire SunGard Public Sector system,” said Chief Birch. Chief Birch finds CA+ as the natural extension of his ONESolution suite. He is now able to take the information from CAD (where his officers are being deployed), and RMS (who is being arrested), and visualize it in a way that he can easily digest and use the information to make actionable decisions. “The folks at SunGard Public Sector have been very helpful as we’ve continued to customize and refine the platform to really make it work for us.”
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Local governments, public safety and justice agencies, non-profit organizations, and the citizens they serve can envision the future happening today with SunGard Public Sector.