building safer communities in the digital age

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As governments are faced with shrinking budgets and resources, public safety officials are tasked to deliver mission value in new ways. Agencies simply cannot afford to put more officers on the street. They need to make improved decisions and allocate resources more effectively. Leveraging crime analytics is part of the solution in a time of tight budgets and resources, states Mike Reade, Public Safety Specialist, IBM Smarter Cities Team. The GovLoop and IBM report explores the variety of crime analytics applications agencies are adopting. The various applications reflects how agencies are looking to align analytics to core mission functions. http://www.govloop.com/profiles/blogs/smarter-cities-building-safer-communities-in-the-digital-age

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  • 1.Public Safety in the Digital Age 1 Smarter Cities: Public Safety in the Digital Age Industry Perspective

2. IBM Industry Perspective1 Agencies simply cannot afford to put more officers on the street. They need to make improved decisions and allocate resources more effectively. Leveraging crime analytics is part of the solution in a time of tight budgets and resources. Mike Reade, Public Safety Specialist, IBM Smarter Cities Team 3. Public Safety in the Digital Age 2 reventing crime is vital to developing vi- brant and safe communities.As govern- ments are faced with shrinking budgets and resources, public safety officials are tasked to deliver mission value in new ways.Agencies simply cannot afford to put more officers on the street. They need to make improved decisions and allo- cate resources more effectively. Leveraging crime analytics is part of the solution in a time of tight budgets and resources, states Mike Reade, Public Safety Specialist, IBM Smarter Cities Team. The variety of crime analytics applications reflects how agencies are looking to align analytics to core mission functions.Existing use cases for crime ana- lytics includes: COMBATING RECIDIVISM by understanding and focusing on serious and prolific offenders PREDICTING AND PREVENTING crime be- fore it happens ENHANCING SITUATIONAL AWARENESS for officers through social media analytics or video analytics to detect suspicious activity as events unfold Providing REAL-TIME INSIGHTS through GIS technology and geo-tagged crime data to de- liver knowledge on surrounding locations and identify potential escape routes OPTIMIZING resource deployment and mea- suring outcomes of decisions and crime-fight- ing initiatives These examples provide only a snapshot of how analytics is being applied in law enforcement. One specific case study comes from the Miami-Dade County Police Departments Blue PALMS initiative. Blue PALMS, or Predictive Analytics Lead Modeling Software, leverages crime analytics to break cold cases, and catch repeat offenders of crimes.When a crime is committed, an officer collects informa- tion that is captured in the Blue PALMS model. Blue PALMS uses advanced analytics to generate a list of potential suspects based on match prob- ability. This list is then delivered to investigators to narrow their focus from thousands of known Smarter Cities: Public Safety in the Digital Age 4. IBM Industry Perspective3 offenders to those with the highest probability of having committed the crime. Blue PALMS provides stronger leads to investigators by leveraging his- torical crime patterns and offender modus ope- randi from huge volumes of data. Although the Blue PALMS program and related examples highlight common ways of using crime analytics applications, organizations define crime analytics in different ways to meet mission de- mands. David Edwards, Global Public Safety Offer- ing Manager, IBM Smarter Cities, states, I define crime analytics as the effort being taken by police departments to collect, synthesize and develop in- sights from all sources of public and private data that they can get access to. Expanding upon Ed- wards definition, crime analytics serves as an um- brella term and includes various analytic applica- tions.A few examples are highlighted below: DESCRIPTIVE ANALYTICS mine historical data to categorize, classify, and group informa- tion in order to reveal patterns, trends and performance. PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS involves a variety of statistical techniques to model data and analyze historical crime, event, geographic, demograph- ic and other data to predict the likelihood of crime before it happens. ENTITY ANALYTICS focuses on improving the accuracy and consistency of data across disparate data sets by resolving identity, event and location records. For instance, a criminal might go by several names and aliases within a records management system and across other datasets, and may be a witness to one crime while being the victim in another. Entity analyt- ics will connect the dots between the data to form a complete profile of a criminal, address or object (such as a vehicle). Entity analytics solutions will also find the non-obvious rela- tionships between persons, objects, locations and events that is only possible when the rela- tionships between resolved identity packages are identified. CONTENT ANALYTICS unlocks valuable data that is trapped in narratives, case files and oth- Blue PALMS, or Predictive Analytics Lead Modeling Software, initiative from the Miami- Dade County Police Department provides stronger leads to investigators by leveraging historical crime patterns and offender modus operandi from huge volumes of data. 5. Public Safety in the Digital Age 4 er documents. Semantic and context analysis of unstructured text allows the volumes of in- formation captured this way to be utilized as effectively as database information in order to identify new insights. SOCIAL MEDIA ANALYTICS provides a con- stant stream of information. By leveraging this highly unstructured data in real time using streaming social media analytics, officers are able to identify and locate potential threats and evolving events, find evidence through photos, or track down witnesses. INTELLIGENT VIDEO ANALYTICS can help identify events and spot patterns of behavior in real time. In addition to providing alerts and improving situational awareness, video analyt- ics provides event and pattern classification to dramatically improve forensic search from huge volumes of stored video. In a fast moving, data-driven world, the key is that agencies focus on specific mission needs and align technology to achieve mission goals. Even though agencies are operating in a time of restrictive bud- gets and dwindling resources, crime analytics is al- lowing agency personnel to be more responsive and efficient to combat crime.Most agencies are interested in using analytics to better inform their personnel in a more efficient and effective way, states Reade. With robust crime analytics, information can be delivered to officers in a more timely and accurate manner. Through this critical information sharing, officers are gaining advanced insights to improve situational awareness.Analytics can deliver infor- mation to officers so they know what risks they might be encountering. Analytics can inform offi- cers of known individuals in the area they should be on the lookout for, which can help the officer be better prepared, states Reade. Likewise, investigators are tracking stronger leads, and departments are witnessing new efficiencies by placing officers at the right spot, at the right time. Above all, crime analytics is creating new insights through data analysis. Organizations can spot trends and correlations by testing multiple variables against one another. Ultimately, by implementing a crime analytics solu- tion, new workplace efficiencies are found. Reade states, Analytics reduces the administrative bur- den on officers, investigators and analysts so they can spend more time doing what they do best. This means more time working on leads, patrol- ling and participating in community based initia- tives, and spending less time searching databases, requesting information and making sense of some- times conflicting reports. Although the benefits are clear, new efficiencies can only be met if an agency aligns analytics to its core mission needs. Due to organizational size and ingrained operating procedures, this process is of- ten challenging for agencies to adopt. Organiza- tions need to view crime analytics as a core part of their business, states Edwards, he continues, reorienting the organization around analytical in- sights is the hardest part. ANALYTICS CAN DELIVER INFORMATION TO OFFICERS SO THEY KNOW WHAT RISKS THEY MIGHT BE ENCOUNTERING. ANALYTICS CAN INFORM OFFICERS OF KNOWN INDIVIDUALS IN THE AREA THEY SHOULD BE ON THE LOOK- OUT FOR, WHICH CAN HELP THE OFFICER BE BETTER PREPARED. Mike Reade, Public Safety Specialist, IBM Smarter CitiesTeam 6. IBM Industry Perspective5 Edwards is alluding to the cultural challenges of leveraging crime analytics for public safety agen- cies. Analytics requires organizations create new organizational policies and infrastructures around analytics to meet mission goals. In addition to overcoming culture challenges, ana- lytic solutions depend on accurate and high quality data. As police officers are often entering infor- mation from a variety of devices and inputs, and sometimes into multiple databases,data quality has become an issue for public safety administrators. As Reade states,Data governance starts with es- tablishing policy and enforcing policy in regards to capturing information. For instance, an officer could enter information for 208 Maine Avenue and mistakenly enter 208 Main Street. Combine this with the criminals deliberate attempts to obfuscate their identities, and multiply these er- rors over an entire force and many years, and data quality will suffer. With inaccurate data, even the most complex algorithms simply will not provide insights that can be trusted. Data quality tools and entity analytics solutions can help to overcome these challenges, but the real goal is to train officers on the importance of data quality and governance.Part of solving better data governance in law enforcement comes back to the person in the field understanding the im- pact of data accuracy and how it will come back to benefit them in the future, states Reade. In addition to showing the operational value of analytics to officers, public safety organizations must also assess the return on investment (ROI) of crime analytics. One example of how to mea- sure the ROI of crime analytics comes from the City of Lancaster, California. In 2008, Lancaster hired James Kobolt as the first Senior Criminal Justice Analyst, tasked with lever- aging data in new ways to combat crime through data.Kobolt used IBM SPSS and EsrisArc