Disruptive innovation

The crime analysis technology securing our streets

Sep 15, 2016

Location-based crime analysis technology has fast emerged as the smart weapon for law enforcement agents tackling today’s dynamic security challenges.

The advanced software provides understanding into the patterns, links and correlations of crimes, criminals and victims – acting as a powerful visual tool for decision-makers across departments and services.

In our current connected environment, every officer and vehicle is a sensor, and every incident is linked to a location. The ability to analyse this information in real-time transforms what would otherwise be faceless data into actionable intelligence that can be used to significantly reduce crime.

And the results speak for themselves. Take, for example, Glasgow – Scotland’s most populous, once notorious city.

Looking back within our lifetime, Scots were once three times more likely to be murdered than their English brethren. At one point, the UN even declared Scotland the most violent country in the developed world.

In a bid to stem the tide of violent crime, Glasgow police set up a Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), positioning location-based analytics technology at the core of their operations.

This allowed them to monitor incidents and trends more effectively, and better allocate officers in the field.

The VRU layered relevant information on a centralised mapping platform, sourcing data from external sources, such as hospitals and schools, in addition to their own services, before combining this with demographic data on things like poverty, unemployment and living environment.

Suddenly, Glasgow police weren’t just blindly throwing darts at a board. Patterns of crime revealed themselves, and gave the VRU the truths it needed to predict where violence was likely to occur, and take action before serious issues arose.

This led to a 39 per cent reduction in all crime in the Glasgow city centre, and following further roll-out around the country has seen Scotland’s homicide rates plummet, with 2015 statistics showing the lowest levels recorded since the 1970s.

If you’d like to learn more on this new weapon for data detectives, download a recent article I wrote on location-based analytics in law enforcement for Asia Pacific Security Magazine.
About the author

Simon Hill