When a crime is committed, the greatest enemy working against law enforcement is time. Officers work diligently to gather all the details they know and start applying their investigative skills to paint a picture—but they are working with a limited view.
Law enforcement has always used data to solve crimes and drive results. Historically, this process has been slow; police use a variety of systems that collect data for analysis. Their current systems are unable to speak to one another, causing data silos. They have to manually extract the data from each system and cross-reference this information by hand. This makes it difficult for police to access and then leverage data quickly to get the results they need.
Connecting the Dots
Police require a way to see all their systems and data in a single space to better understand the big picture. Seeing the components surrounding a crime can help them make connections faster, and solve crimes quicker.
Law enforcement needs a mapping platform that consolidates their existing data streams into a common operational picture. This allows them to see all the pieces of the puzzle in real-time in the same space on the map, which can help them connect the dots faster.
Some of the data streams that give police a more complete picture of their city include:
- Current location of all their officers and vehicles
- Public and private cameras
- Shot detection system
- License plate readers (LPR)
- Public transit (buses, trains)
- Public transit routes
- Traffic flow
- Traffic incidents
Getting the Results
Having all this data in one place does not mean crimes will be solved faster. So, how can police apply their methods to make the data work for them with a consolidated platform?
A person calls in to 911 and reports a homicide. Police are dispatched to the scene of the crime. They comb over every inch, collecting and recording every minute detail that could help crack the case. They discuss their data-driven theories at the scene to create a loose picture of what might have happened.
They return to the precinct to further analyze and discuss the details. Officers have a suspect and a timeline of events in mind, but no conclusive evidence at the crime scene. Instead of poring over volumes of data in silos, they turn to their common operational picture with a consolidated view of their data streams (buses, officer vehicles, traffic cameras, LPR). This provides the big picture they need to track the suspect.
Want to learn more about how data empowers law enforcement to keep communities safe? Read our blog Rapid Response: Protecting Communities with Real-Time Data.
They find a car associated with the suspect’s name. They have a loose idea of the route the suspect took and use a combination of traffic cameras on Live Earth and LPR on the mapping platform to find the vehicle. If the vehicle passes by a camera, officers will get an alert from the Live Earth platform notifying them that the wanted vehicle has passed a camera. Police locate the car and get a clear shot of a passenger, but a bus crossing by at the same time obstructs the view of the driver.
Police think fast: does the bus have a camera on board, and could it have captured images of the driver?
Law enforcement leverages the platform to pull up details to get the bus ID. They call the company and discover a camera was on board, and the bus company complies and sends the video over. They review the footage and get a clear shot of their driver. Police bring in the passenger, the driver’s friend, for questioning. The friend confesses to everything. She confirms the driver murdered the victim and corroborates they were on the way to the store to purchase supplies to clean up the crime scene. The officers make their arrest.
The Big Picture
Police applied their tried and true investigative methods to the case. They gathered details at the scene and discussed the possibilities of what happened. They then put their theories to the test on the visualization platform and creatively approached the various components to connect the dots.
By having the big picture in front of them, rather than working with data silos, police were able to obtain video evidence and a signed confession. A combined solution empowers officers to solve crimes faster, mitigate risks, and keep their communities safer.