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Connect with Your Citizens Anywhere They Want - CityConnect: New Mobile App for Law Enforcement

Statewide Law Enforcement Training Coming to a City Near You

Earlier this year PublicEngines made an announcement that 2014 was going to be The Year of the CustomerOur biggest initiative to come out of that proclamation was to Ensure Your Success. And our first action to accomplish that goal was to create our monthly online training series, Best Practices to Better Crime Analysis. To date, 785 law enforcement officers have registered for the live, online event and now have access to each of the seven different on-demand recorded trainings. Feedback from attendees has been very positive as each class has averaged 9.2 out of 10 in measuring overall satisfaction.

While we’re very happy with those results so far, we aren’t satisfied nor are we settling. So we have now introduced live, single-day, multi-agency state-based law enforcement trainings. We tested the format in Utah and Maryland, covering key topics such as public engagement, barriers to intelligence-led policing, and how to utilize predictive analytics. And as of this writing, Alpha Group Graduate Detective Daniel Seals is in Florida conducting this complimentary training in conjunction with our gracious hosts, the Pinellas Park Police Department.

 

Assistant Chief Haworth addressed the attendees and stressed the importance of teamwork, collaboration and partnership in protecting those we serve.

Assistant Chief Haworth addressed the attendees and stressed the importance of teamwork, collaboration and partnership in protecting those we serve.

These events too have been a great success as attendees from more than 100 agencies indicated the content was highly relevant and applicable for their jobs  – see an overview of the event here.

Which brings me to our next topic: PublicEngines wants to bring a training to a city near you. Training is an essential element to the success of any law enforcement agency’s efforts to effectively police their jurisdiction. As Detective Seals has often mentioned, “You wouldn’t give a deputy a new firearm without properly training them.” We whole-heartedly agree with that sentiment when it comes to technology. It isn’t enough to provide access to crime data and analysis tools if you can’t pull actionable intelligence out of it. So our goal of Ensuring Your Success really comes to life when you’re able to connect past crime data to actionable intelligence by understanding how to use the technology made available in a practical and tactical way through a live, in-person event.

Calling All Agencies. Host a Law Enforcement Training for Your State

Throughout the rest of 2014 and beyond we’re looking to identify key partner-agencies that would like to participate in this effort by hosting a multi-agency event in their local training facility. With your willingness, PublicEngines will organize the curriculum, cater breakfast and lunch, and promote the training through email and phone calls to agencies concentrated within your immediate vicinity and throughout the state. Besides being able to receive complimentary training on topics like Interjurisdictional Data Sharing, Intelligence Led Policing, and Predictive Analytics among others, attendees benefit from the ability to network with officials from local, state, and federal agencies. And in some instances have been able to use this event to satisfy their annual training requirements.

If your agency would like to participate by hosting one of these special events, I invite you to send me an email at: robert.voccola@publicengines.com expressing your interest. While we won’t be able to accept every volunteer for 2014, all states and agencies are encouraged and welcomed to submit their interest in becoming a training partner with PublicEngines for their state. Cheers to Ensuring Your Success in 2014 and beyond.

PublicEngines 2014 – The Year of The Customer

An Open Letter from PublicEngines Chief Executive Officer
William Kilmer:

First of all, I would like to sincerely thank each of our customers for their continued support of PublicEngines in 2013. I appreciate your commitment to us and I want to reassure you that our commitment and dedication to your success is more resolute than ever.

By all accounts, last year was a successful one for PublicEngines.  We continued to grow rapidly by providing cloud-based data and analytics products to improve public safety. We added new products, like CommandCentral Predictive, and new capabilities, including a crime dashboard and analytics module to CrimeReports, which we now call CrimeReports Plus.

We recognize that while the economy is improving, these are still economically challenging times.  For many of you, budgets have not increased in the last four years, and for some, they may have even fallen.  No matter what your situation, we understand the continued importance of trying to do more with what resources you have.

Crime Analysis Training, Basic Training, and Advanced Onsite Training

For this reason, as we continue to invest in the development of our products to help you get the most out of our solutions, we also want to invest in our most important asset: you. As we developed our plan of what to focus on for 2014, we felt the need to invest more time and effort in your success.  That is why a major initiative for us this year is to “Ensure Our Customer’s Success.”  You will see this in many ways throughout 2014, including some very new and exciting product features and services that will be announced shortly.

However, our biggest commitment will be to an initiative to increase your success in using our products.  We’ve started to revamp our current product training, and we’ll be adding several free online training modules so you can get the most out of CommandCentral.

Additionally, January marks the beginning a free monthly training webinar titled, “Best Practices for Better Crime Analysis.”  This webinar will focus on modern data analysis and Intelligence-led Policing techniques that can be used in any law enforcement agency to improve your insight and decision-making abilities.  Hundreds have already signed up for the series, which starts on January 27th.  If you are interested, you can view the agenda and register at http://www2.publicengines.com/2014CrimeAnalysisTraining.

For those who would like the opportunity of more extensive training for their entire command staff or force, we are now offering the option of onsite training.  Finally, keep an eye out for a new user forum this year that will provide you an easier way to share your insights with us about how you use our products and what new features you’d like to see, and ways to connect with fellow users from around the world.

With these and other improvements we are making, I think it will be an exciting year for PublicEngines.

I hope that we can continue to earn your trust and business.  If there is anything you feel that we can improve, please feel free to contact me or my team at 801-828-2700.

From everyone at PublicEngines, we wish you the best success in 2014.

Best Regards,

William Kilmer
Chief Executive Officer
PublicEngines

Four Steps To Effectively Using Crime Data in Law Enforcement

It’s no secret that law enforcement agencies are consistently being asked to do more with fewer resources. Budget cuts have meant fewer feet on the street and ever increasing demands on agencies and officers alike. To meet these growing demands, many agencies are increasingly relying on technology to fill that gap.

There are four important steps to make sure that you’re using data to its fullest potential.

1. Collecting the data

The fact of the matter is there is a plethora of data available. Useful data may include department-specific information such as:

  • Recent bookings
  • Various types of crimes that have been committed
  • Calendar of when crimes occurred
  • Maps of where illegal activities took place
  • Written citations

However, according to Doug Wylie, Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, some cities take it a step further to include a much greater holistic view of the community a department serves to include everything from utilities and social services records to new building permits.

2 . Accurate Data

Recently, one big city police department announced it would no longer be releasing monthly crime reports because the Excel files they used to distribute the information were being corrupted. Someone had been changing the data the public viewed. This follows the accusations a couple of years ago that the New York Police Department had been falsifying data.

Audits by PublicEngines reveals that up to 25% of all law enforcement data housed in RMS or CAD systems is not accurately recorded.

However, there are ways to improve data accuracy. According to a recent report, some of the variables that agencies should consider include:

  • Data that is correctly captured. This is crucial because there are myriad of codes, statutes and other minor details that allow for human error. Information can be mislabeled or mapped incorrectly. Regular review and comparison can help catch errors and ensure greater accuracy.
  • Quality report writing that includes correct classifications, a built-in multiple-level review processes, and a system to all for reclassification, supplements and follow-up reports to be reviewed, approved and added.
  • Regular audits of reports to verify accuracy. This might also include periodic surveys of randomly selected citizens, who have reported criminal activity to verify your records accurately reflect the facts as they were reported.

3. Adequately Interpreted Data

Those agencies with analysts rely on these hard-working people to identify crime trends. But they’re stretched thin. The ability for officers to predict crimes not only relieves some of the pressure on analysts, it also helps reduce crime. Access to this information is the key factor.

But with sheer amount of data now being gathered, is there room to interpret it in a way that predicts even more crime?

Take some of the non-criminal data that agencies are gathering that was mentioned by PoliceOne’s Wylie. An officer knows that construction sites often experience the theft of materials, vandalism and graffiti. If he also knows from new building permits that construction is under way in several projects, redirecting himself to those areas can significantly reduce the potential for those crimes.

4.Getting data into hands of those that take action

As the above example illustrates, when officers on the street have access to data, they can act accordingly. However, that can prove a challenge.

Products like CommandCentral Predictive, work to eliminate those challenges. Since it’s cloud-based, it is available literally anywhere it is needed so long as an Internet connected device is available. Reports can even be sent directly to officers via email automatically.

Officers in the field are hardly desk jockeys, which is why allowing them to access the information while in the field via their mobile phone or tablet is so important. It can literally be the difference between a crime being prevented and a crime occurring.

Data is available – maybe even too much data is available – but there are ways to harness that information to help predict and prevent crime. Collecting that data from a wide variety of sources, ensuring its accuracy and interpreting its value are important first steps. However, utilizing technology – getting this information to officers wherever they may be – allows them to predict crime and make the streets safer for everyone.

Hot Spot Policing Reduces Crime in Real World Experiment

Today there is an abundance of theories about different strategies and tactics police departments can implement to reduce crime and save tax payer money. Unfortunately, like many theories, they can be difficult to measure, and prove – or disprove.

I recently came across an article in Dispatch called A Hot Spot Experiment: Sacramento Police Department that took the so-called Koper curve theory of hot spot policing, and put it to a real world test.

The Sacramento Police Department tested out the theory, which states that certain neighborhoods or locations will have an unequal distribution of crime when compared to other locations in the same area. The higher crime areas are called hot spots, and the theory says that when there is a visible police presence in these hot spots, crime will drop.

Hot Spot Map

The CommandCentral Heat Map shows density of crime by time per agency patrolling area.

The experiment outlined a ranking of Hot Spots, and two separate groups (Hot Spot Policing, and Routine Patrols) were assigned. Hot Spot Policing was defined as having police officers who are highly visible in the assigned Hot Spot for 12-16 minutes every two hours.

The Sacramento Police Department tested the theory over a three month period. Following are some of the findings of that real world study:

  • Crimes in areas that used Hot Spot Policing decreased by 25 percent
  • Officer productivity improved due to Hot Spot Policing
  • Hot Spot Policing lead to significant cost savings (almost $300,000 over the three month period)

So, while this is only one real world experiment that seemed to show benefits to implementing the Koper curve theory of hot spot policing, more research can be done. I also found it interesting to see how vitally important accurate crime data and statistics are to implementing a technique such as Hot Spot Policing. Accurate crime data allowed Sacramento PD to identify Hot Spots, and track the impact of its experiment. Ultimately it seems, having the ability to collect, track, and analyze crime data, leads to better knowledge, and thus better decision-making.

Congratulations to the Sacrament Police Department for using their data to implement Intelligence Led Policing systems that lower crime, and save money. To read more about this experiment, visit http://cops.usdoj.gov/html/dispatch/06-2012/hot-spots-and-sacramento-pd.asp