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Tracking crime

User stories from the knowledge front

An Orange County, CA, community is using data analysis software to map local crime patterns and to improve its patrols.

The Westminster Police Department has deployed the C-Insight data analysis platform from MetaEdge to merge two crime databases and analyze the consolidated information. Police intend to improve patrol assignments, predict crime trends and develop better crime prevention programs through the new technology.

The police department chose the solution because it is said to provide an affordable, integrated suite of back- and front-end tools that eliminated the need to buy and manage multiple, independent components, according to a recent press release.

"We evaluated a number of products before settling on C-Insight, and all of the others consisted of a la carte components that were more expensive and far more difficult to use," says Derek Marsh, a police lieutenant and IT director for the police force. "This gives us one package that can be used to quickly load our crime databases into a data warehouse, analyze crime patterns in depth and generate detailed maps overlaying different data sets, and it requires relatively little technical expertise."

Initially the department is using the software to merge live Microsoft SQL and legacy Oracle 6 crime databases into a data warehouse. Then it will begin analyzing and mapping crime patterns through C-Insight graphical user interfaces and wizards. Marsh expects to use the solution's mapping capabilities to search for correlations between data, such as the locations of local parolees and the incidence of burglaries.

Spatial analysis features allow the user to toggle between a map and data tables, jump from a specific crime with all the relevant details to a summarized multiyear crime trend perspective, and create a report of all crimes in a designated area by clicking on a hot spot on the map.

The platform can also be used for criminal profiling to identify targeted suspects as well as complex crime patterns

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