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Police Gain an Edge with Data Analytics

Law enforcement has become infinitely more complex over the last few decades, due in large part to the overabundance of investigatory data and requirements. The sophisticated tools criminals have at their disposal have only made things more difficult.

Isn’t it time police receive a system of their own to combat modern crime - one that harnesses the power of data analytics?

The state of law enforcement

The United States experienced the baby boom population explosion, starting in the 1950s and resulting in a doubling in size in just 65 years, according to U.S. Census data. With more people comes, inevitably, more crime. Unfortunately, police officers are having difficulty closing cases as a result.

Take the national clearance rate for homicide as an example. National Public Radio (NPR) reported that in 1950, law enforcement was closing nearly 90 percent of its cases. Since then, this number has dropped all the way down to 64 percent - a number that, in reality, could be lower, since it accounts for suspects that have been identified, but then died and were never convicted.

With far more variables, technologies and people in play than ever before, police are having a difficult time adapting to modern crime. This isn’t necessarily due to the fact that cases have become more complicated to understand and dissect, but the responsibilities on law enforcement’s side have added another layer of complexity to the matter, according to Vernon Geberth, a retired, NYPD homicide police officer that spoke with NPR.

Detectives not only have to quickly gather evidence, understand how it all connects and collaborate with multiple stakeholders in the department to bring a suspect to justice, but they have to do it on a much larger scale than ever before.

Make data work for you

It’s time for police to take back control of the national clearance rate by leveraging data analytics platforms that can help connect the dots.

Why?

A report by the U.S Department of Justice found that since 2008, local government budgets have shrunk to historic deficits and, by extension, so have police departments. Even so, the public perception of law enforcement hasn’t changed—police officers are still expected to solve crimes, no matter how much the resources have dwindled.

Furthermore, nearly 94 percent of respondents to a survey conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police realized that a new era of American policing methods are developing—but the case can be made that it’s already here.

In the past, information has been scattered among reports and other paper-based sources, making it difficult for detectives to see the common connection. Visallo, a big data analytics platform, can pull data together from digital and formerly analog sources. That way, one officer investigating a suspect for a crime will immediately see what other illegal activities the person is suspected of. These real-time connections are invaluable—identifying the common points of interest previously may have taken days, weeks or month to put together.

Visallo is a digital investigatory platform that aggregates, analyzes and visualizes internal and external data gathered across law enforcement departments, is the answer. It allows law enforcement agencies to get the most of their smaller budgets by vastly improving the time it takes to investigate a crime. What was once a process full of intangible skill has become an amalgamation of data, but many departments lack the ability to put all the information together in a cohesive, coherent way that benefits them rather than strains their investigatory ability.

Additionally, the core of Visallo is open-source and configurable. The cloud-based system facilitates real-time collaboration between detectives and police officers, allowing every user to share the information they’ve gathered in an effort to see the bigger picture.

Crime has become modern, and it’s time for police to leverage an investigatory data analytics platform to do the same.