What is Big Data and how is it used? We get this question a lot. We define big data as huge amounts of data collected through the public sector. It’s all the data compiled from police departments, the DMV, the DOT, our courthouses, etc. There are others, like retailers, who also collect data that the public sector would find useful. Like a sporting goods store collecting info on gun owners, hunting & fishing permits, and so on. At L-Tron we offer a solution that aggregates this data and turns it into useful information for the user. For Law Enforcement, that means the ability to analyze patterns of data from arrest records and calls received by dispatch (like burglaries in a neighborhood, disturbances at a residence or even details about a suspicious vehicle or person). As solution providers to Law Enforcement agencies, we asked ourselves:
What if a traffic Officer had access to all accident reports, or data on the time of day the most speeding tickets were issued in a particular stretch of highway?
What if a patrol Officer knew what open arrest warrants or high risk sex offenders were living in a particular neighborhood?
Being able to solve these “what if” questions will solve many challenges for Law Enforcement. And it’s already been proven in the field. One police department in the mid-west was able to make an arrest in a sex offense based on information collected using dispatch data collected over a period of several weeks. If not for the ability to do a search of the RMS to map out the areas where the crimes had been reported, they would not have been able to make an arrest as quickly as they did. With advanced ability to analyze the data, the arrest interrupted a pattern that may have resulted in assault and abduction. With hundreds of dispatch calls a day coming through, it would have taken much longer to string together clues in the investigation that would allow this individual to be found and charged.
How do we gather up this data and incorporate it into a database management system?
Public data systems can be massive, making the exporting of data a difficult task. It could require multiple servers and millions of dollars to manage, depending on the amount of information available. There are more economical alternatives available now that eliminate server concerns by allowing storage in the cloud. What is the cloud? You probably use it now if you have a public email account, have photos on Facebook, or use iTunes. For IT Managers, it frees up server space and streamlines IT efficiencies so it’s a welcome change. The good news is that using cloud-based applications reduce capital outlays and speed up the rollout and adoption of technology in the field. With crime prevention being one of the primary drivers behind organizing all this data, the ability for Law Enforcement Officers to build reports in a software application allows them to more easily identify areas of need and apply resources accordingly. When scheduling is based on this data analysis, time on the job becomes safer for the Officers and the communities in which they serve. Agencies who have designed systems equipped to utilize this data in the cloud are seeing major improvements in the way they utilize their workforce, manage emergencies, and make improvements in their cities.
How do we make this data available to Law Enforcement? Using a data mapping software application, reports can be created and viewed on a number of devices like Honeywell’s Dolphin™ 70e Black Smartphone. In our last blog we discussed the use of consumer devices and industry-designed Smartphones like the Dolphin Black for Officers in Law Enforcement, and the importance of both fit and functionality with the right kind of device. A rugged design, and features that fit the application, allow these devices to be major productivity enhancers. In addition, an integrated barcode scanner allows for the scanning of PDF barcodes on ID cards and driver licenses. These devices empower the Officer too, since it can alleviate some of the time spent relying on dispatch to provide information in real-time, or for lookups to be performed on a single database. What’s more, an easy-to-use, graphic interface enables Law Enforcement to rapidly interpret reports as well; for example, a screen displaying area businesses that have been burglarized in the last 6 months, or the number of car break-ins within a certain-mile radius.