Police Use Biz Intelligence to Map Crime Patterns

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A police department in California is taking advantage of business intelligence products to map crime patterns in its jurisdiction so officers can improve patrolling methods and devise better crime-prevention programs.

The Westminster Police Department in Orange County is using a data analysis platform created by MetaEdge, a provider of business and public sector analytic applications.

The department is using MetaEdge's C-Insight data analysis to merge two crime databases so officials can analyze the information. With that information, officials are better able to map local crime patterns.

"We're focusing on people, vehicle information, locations and events in terms of cases," says Lt. Derek Marsh, who's also director of IT for the Westminster Police Department.

The department is an NT shop, Marsh says.

"We're leveraging our old VAX VMS system and meshing it with our NT-based SQL Server 7 database with 10 years worth of data," he says.

The department, like others across the country, used arrest cards to track accused suspects. Marsh says part-time employees were hired to input the information of 85,000 people per year in the database.

Marsh says he chose MetaEdge's product line over those from Brio and Cognos because it contains a more inclusive suite of tools.

"I've got a tool to create my warehouse and a tool to help create an intranet site, and I don't have to worry about a per-user licensing fee," he says.

The total cost of the project is approximately $75,000, Marsh says.

"With this, we can save time by using our crime analyst more efficiently," he says.

Marsh says one idea for the platform's mapping capabilities will be the search for data correlations between locations of local parolees and the incidence of burglaries. He says he hopes to have his staff plotting crime patterns by mid-February.

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