A New Tool in Law Enforcement's Arsenal
Gangs are one of the biggest hurdles law-enforcement officials face in trying to keep a city safe. In fact, according to a report recently released by the National Gang Intelligence Center, there are a more than 33,000 criminally active gangs with approximately 1.4 million members in the United States--a 40 percent increase in gang membership in just two years.
While once only seen as a "big city" problem, gangs have expanded to suburbs, small towns, and even rural areas. Gangs have taken a page from the business community's book and have taken full advantage of technology to create loose networks that enable them to coordinate activities, whether they are in New York or Smallville, Idaho.
Gangs are responsible for about 48 percent of violent crime and are employing new and advanced technology to facilitate criminal activity discreetly, enhance their criminal operations, and connect with other gang members, criminal organizations, and potential recruits nationwide and even worldwide.
This creates a whole new set of challenges for police because they are now fighting a battle in the physical and virtual worlds. Traditionally, police departments often were challenged to understand the bigger picture. But that's changing, too. Confronting 21st-century bad guys calls for 21st-century law enforcement.
Technology has quickly become the great equalizer in the first responder's arsenal. It provides officers with access to the right information in real time. With the ability to mine and uncover patterns and trends in data, law-enforcement agencies are now able to better predict where crime will likely take place, based on historical information, trends, and a myriad of other variables.
Consider a few examples of how technology has contributed a positive and quantifiable impact on helping first responders:
- Memphis Police's use of predictive analytics software contributed to a significant reduction in serious crime, without a proportional increase in staff.
- The City of Madrid has a new, networked emergency response center that has helped cut response times by 25 percent.
- The Los Angeles Police Department has used its Real Time Crime Center to deploy considerable discretionary resources to emerging gang crime and trends in an effort to reduce gang related crime by an additional 15 percent.
Discover more. Click to view our infographic on how analytics are helping police forces make our cities safer.