The Value of Dashboards in Intelligence-Led Policing

As we’ve previously discussed on the Spillman blog, intelligence-led policing is an increasingly popular management principle among law enforcement agencies around the world for analyzing crime, improving quality of life, and better managing resources. Agencies implementing intelligence-led policing principles analyze statistical data to determine where crimes and traffic accidents occur, what types of crime are increasing and decreasing, and where community nuisances like vandalism and noise complaints commonly occur. Agencies can then use that data to shape agency policy and determine where to focus personnel and other crime-fighting resources.

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The act of analyzing data may sound like a simple way to start fighting crime, but it can pose a challenge for many agencies. Although they may already be collecting public safety data, agencies may not have the resources or personnel to extract it on a regular basis or in a way that offers meaning.

This can be a real problem for agencies, said Rich Hendricks, former Logan, Utah police chief and current owner of Command Solutions, a Spillman partner specializing in intelligence-led policing software.

“If agencies aren’t pulling information out of their RMS (records management system), they are only using approximately 60 to 70 percent of their system,” Hendricks said.

However, even if agencies can access their jurisdictional data, it may not be useful to them because analyzing the results can be time-consuming. Most small to medium-sized agencies do not have the resources to employ dedicated analysts. For this reason, many agencies are turning to products that do the leg work for them, identifying trends and patterns in jurisdictional data and then presenting that information in an easy-to-understand format. One such product is an analytics dashboard. Much like how a dashboard on a car shows drivers important information on speed, fuel, and warning lights, an analytics dashboard displays relevant and timely information an agency can use to react quickly to changing trends in crime.

For example, Spillman offers the CompStat Dashboard module for agencies that want to see what is happening in their jurisdiction at a glance.

The main dashboard summarizes all relevant agency data, including graphs indicating trends in crime, quality of life factors, traffic information, and more. Users can easily “point and click” to drill down into specific information they need, such as which personnel are making the arrests and writing citations, where traffic accidents are occurring most often, and what neighborhoods are being targeted with specific crimes. Integration with Google Earth™ maps can show users a heat map of the resulting data, such as where graffiti has been reported in the last two weeks or where homicides are occurring.

Intelligence-led policing enables agencies to be proactive when creating strategy for their jurisdiction and enables them to get the most out of their RMS. Analytics dashboards can play an important role in helping agencies access the information they need to conduct intelligence-led policing measures, allowing them to better serve their communities.