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3 ways data sharing helps law enforcement be more effective

Modern policing practices require police to consider data-driven approaches more than ever


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By Steve Seoane for PoliceOne BrandFocus

The challenges that law enforcement agencies face are unique to each department, but the one that binds them all is the need to share data and information across agencies.

Data silos can hinder policing practices that can effectively tackle complex crimes. (image/CentralSquare Technologies)
Data silos can hinder policing practices that can effectively tackle complex crimes. (image/CentralSquare Technologies)

Imagine one county with multiple municipalities all working on similar types of crimes – but they may not know it if data is not being shared. When systems are connected, there is more shared access to relevant information. With that additional insight into data and trending issues, agencies have the potential to more effectively apprehend perpetrators, proactively deter crime and address issues in the community.

Increasing the interoperability between databases and the agencies that use them should be a priority for public safety software leaders for many reasons. Top among them include:

1. Increasing apprehension rate

Law enforcement is limited by jurisdictional boundaries. Perpetrators don’t care about county or city lines when they commit crimes. Law enforcement agencies operating on software that doesn’t allow them to compare cases with other agencies could be duplicating efforts or wasting time chasing dead ends. When resources and data can be shared and utilized efficiently, apprehension cases are robust, and prosecution is more successful.

2. Proactivity reduces victimization

Proactively sharing data gives public safety agencies a new, unique opportunity for insight to help reduce victimization. Just like weather forecasting, agencies can take detailed patterns and trends to help better understand and anticipate future crimes in a jurisdiction. For example, if data showed that burglaries most frequently occur on Wednesday afternoons within a city, resources can be distributed to these specific areas so that an increased police presence can deter the crime from happening, ultimately enabling them to cut down on victimization.

3. Responding to changing officer demographics

The public safety sector is experiencing an influx of younger officers rising rapidly through the ranks as older generations retire. These younger officers expect to have access to information at any time on any mobile device. They expect to have that access immediately because that’s how they function off-duty in their day-to-day lives. They have not lived in a world where the internet did not exist or where cell phones didn’t fit inside their pocket. It’s become necessary for public safety software providers to provide this new generation with the tools they need and have come to expect.

Law enforcement officials have a unique challenge before them. Fostering an environment of data sharing requires open communication, trust between agencies and an all-hands-on-deck attitude because the benefits data sharing brings to both law enforcement and citizens are invaluable. There is an opportunity now to innovate and adopt new technologies on the front line to help keep communities safe.

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