Law enforcement agencies are under extreme pressure to solved crimes, protect citizens and otherwise apprehend individuals who skirt or directly violate the rules which govern our country. Unfortunately, the nature of law enforcement makes it an extraordinarily reactive undertaking. After all, you can’t exactly know when and where a crime is going to be committed. Or can you…?
According to a recent article in Government Computer News, local law enforcement agencies are starting to utilize advanced technologies and systems to consolidate, analyze and interpret the mountains of data that they and other state and local agencies collect.
The data is shared between agencies, such as prison systems, police forces, departments of motor vehicles and others, and is then analyzed to help identify trends that allow police to better distribute their resources. This is extremely important in today’s economic environment where state and local governments are fighting to make ends meet and often have to cut already limited police forces.
In addition to saving money, these systems can help to better protect citizens. According to the article, these systems are enabling police to track individuals that are of interest to the police. Should they be arrested in other regions, be released from prison or otherwise have a change in their status, the local authorities are notified.
Utilizing this technology, police can even analyze whether particular kinds of crime increase or decrease when individuals are incarcerated or released. If a particular type of criminal activity increases when an individual is released, there could be a correlation.
And these Web-based applications are working. In Santa Cruz, Ca., a program designed to predict which geographic region is susceptible to criminal activity at a particular time is enabling police to alter their patrols accordingly.
The system is helping the police determine the kind of crime and potential target so they know where to look and what to look for. As a result, they’ve seen a significant decrease in crime in those areas, and in the immediate surrounding areas. That’s important since it means that the criminal activity wasn’t simply displaced.
When it comes to law enforcement, it appears that the more data that local authorities have and the more they can analyze it, the more likely they are to prevent crime, instead of just react to criminal activity. But that’s not only true in law enforcement. Analyzing and sharing data via Web-based applications is helping government agencies avoid other forms of criminal activity.
In a previous post, we discussed a program that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) runs that assigns star ratings to health plans and rewards the plans with the highest ratings financially. By creating a Web application where health plans are required to upload patient-level data about the services they are providing, CMS is ensuring that the information they provide is accurate and that the ratings aren’t fraudulently inflated.
Web-based applications are enabling civilian and law enforcement agencies to properly aggregate, share and analyze utilize the mountains of data that they are perpetually storing. When utilized properly and shared between agencies, this data can help to ensure that criminal activity is reduces, fraud is eliminated and citizens are protected, proactively.