Page 46 - Security Today, September/October 2021
P. 46

“In this article, we go behind the scenes to see how the modern-day Sherlock Holmes is using technology to help solve cases, catch criminals and enhance the safety of our streets.”
Secondly, software and data assisted crime analysts search for significant patterns in crimes in order to crack cases. If law enforcement, for example, is looking to home in on a drug network, crime analysts work to piece together who the suppliers are, who the buyers are, who the movers are, etc. Using their arrest and management systems records and data, they can better figure out how a criminal organization functions, and how to put in place strategies to move the case forward. Proof that modern technology is a game changer, one of the key contributors to improved clearance rates has been the application of new technologies and techniques to old, cold cases.
While the techniques for criminal investigations (with the exception of forensics) have not really changed that much, the ability to establish links between four or five pieces of data that previously would have taken days or weeks to find, can now be done in minutes or a few hours. This means that cases that would have previously sat on the shelf are more likely to be investigated and solved quickly.
Crime analysts’ third function is to look for generic or statistical trends, such as a rise in homicides or assaults in a specific area. This helps them create maps and charts for the police department’s executive team to get a clearer picture of what’s happening in their precinct. Oftentimes, someone had to collect all the data and input the information into an Excel spreadsheet in order to see if the homicide and assault percentage were up or down over previous periods. With modern solutions, algorithms are now used to highlight statistically significant changes in the data that highlights changes in crime patterns.
Coordinating and collaborating all the data collected from myriad sources such as video surveillance footage, Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR), and information provided by private citizens or businesses is a huge undertaking. Gathering all that data from varying sources and interpreting it to make better, quicker, efficient decisions can be made.
Many crime analysts are turning to innovative technology solutions, such as Genetec CitigrafTM. This decision support system empowers public safety departments to build a deeper, data-driven understanding of what is happening in their city. Citigraf collects and manages information provided by integrated CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) systems, CCTV footage, ALPR data, RMS (Record Management Systems) and more in a single pane of glass, to immediately identify and display the exact location of an event using icons on a map from a built-in geographical information system (GIS). Thanks to a collaborative
integration with gunshot detection technology. When a gunshot has been detected, response teams are notified with a map located gun icon coupled with nearby cameras. With this combined information, Rapid, actionable alerts to help law enforcement quickly intervene and take control of dangerous situations, stop crimes, and save lives.
Law enforcement has a new way of measuring, reporting, and determining the impact of new initiatives and interventions to increase overall public safety. Analytics dashboards, heat maps, and data analysis provide valuable insights into how crime and events move and change throughout a given area, over time. The collective, data-driven analytics give police departments forward looking, predictive indicators of potential issues within the city’s coming operations cycle, helping law enforcement define and modify patrol beats and staffing requirements.
Trusted technology solutions can continually analyze information from thousands of sensors and data points, assisting frontline public safety teams by bringing to light relevant events and information. This allows responders to prepare for what they can expect before arriving on site and allows individuals and agencies to see what is happening across their jurisdictions.
The International Association of Crime Analysts reports that technology has proven instrumental in solving cases, developing effective strategies to prevent future crimes, educating the public, and allocating resources and prioritize patrol investigations. The result is often a reduction in crime rates and the development of proactive public safety strategies.
We all need workspaces with easy access to the right tools to help us get the job done. While Sherlock Holmes carried out his own practice at his Baker Street home, the new modern crime lab typically features known as Strategic Decision Support Centers (SDSCs). These multi-screen equipped crime-fighting nerve centers facilitate decision making through increased data and intelligence and clearer context and correlation for better understanding. They use dedicated hardware and software solutions and help local police departments develop proactive investigative and public safety strategies. They function to give crime analysts and police departments more comprehensive local intelligence and deeper insight so that they can use r personnel and resources more effectively while improving officer safety.
While technology is proving a powerful tool in crime solving, it is and will always be the human element that ultimately cracks criminal cases. Just as Sherlock Holmes relied on his own powers of observation, induction, deduction, logic and reasoning, so too do modern-day crime solvers trust their wits to
uncover clues and find the truth. Leveraging technologytohelpintheprocessissimplyasmart
choice and, well, elementary, my dear Watson.
David Petrook is a product group director at Genetec.

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