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Canadian cops armed with Big Blue analytics

Alberta's Edmonton Police Service is using IBM business analytics for crime prevention efforts. Seeing data in near-real time to help identify problems, trends, and locations.

IBM on Tuesday announced that Canada's Edmonton Police Service is using IBM business analytics technology to help reduce crime, improve force effectiveness, and increase public safety.

The goal of the software is to help law enforcement agencies "obtain the right information at the right time--even before a crime may have been committed--to inform police officers so they can stay on top of and prevent criminal activities, identify crime 'hot spots,' and ultimately reduce crime rates."

With business analytics technology, Edmonton police are able to see data in near-real time. They put crime information directly into the hands of front-line patrol officers so they can use it to quickly identify problems, associated trends, and locations of crimes to determine their response and problem-solving solutions.

The police service has also been able to look at the components of response times--such as dispatch delays and travel time--to identify the issues that play a role in overall response time. With this technology, police are able to monitor performance strategically over time and place, and tactically on a day-by-day and call-by-call basis.

Crime data analysis has been a challenge in the past, as law enforcement and government agencies are only recently making the transition from paper to computer-based records. The quick access to relevant information potentially helps officials work smarter and make more timely decisions about crime fighting.

The use of analytics to improve decision making is certainly nothing new in the enterprise. Other industries such as professional sports jumped on the analytics bandwagon several years ago in order to create specific game plans based on teams and players. It's good to see an industry modernize--especially one that's responsible for public safety.