Some time ago, I had witnessed a scene like this and I still remember the chill that ran up my spine as I saw policemen with their weapons out, rushing toward uncertain danger. As it turned out, it was a false alarm, but what if…… Anyone who has ever experienced a shootout, either in combat or on the streets at home know how I felt and can appreciate the courage of men like these and the stress that they are under.
We need to arm them with the most comprehensive information available to resolve the situation and keep the public safe. Fortunately, there are a lot of data sources available to help them with their job. The problem is how to make that information available to them in a timely manner in way that can be consumed for actionable outcomes.
Darrin Lipscomb, the CTO Public Safety and Smart Cities for Hitachi Data System was recently interviewed by the Center for Data Innovation where he explained how software can be used to not only provide first responders with actionable information, but proactively predict the possibility of criminal activities.
Darrin Lipscomb: “There’s a huge amount of public data available to leverage. The big challenge for law enforcement is turning all that data into meaningful insights—correlating disparate data sets and making sense of them to not only gain insight, but ensure those insights are actionable.
At the highest level, there are three necessary components: first, the ability to rapidly ingest data from variety of sources and ensure that data stays current; second, a flexible analytic model that enables input of features from the overall data set, such as a historical crime series, so it can then perform statistical analysis to assign a granular threat level, as well as weigh underlying risk factors; lastly, it requires a way to simply and intuitively visualize the information. “ Please see Darren’s video interview at ISC West which was posted on May 2, 2016.
Darrin Lipscomb and Mark Jules, co-founders of the crime-monitoring technology company Avrio and Pantascene which Hitachi acquired in 2014, are the researchers who developed the Hitachi Visualization Suite (HVS), a hybrid cloud-based platform that integrates disparate data and video assets from public safety systems—911 computer-aided dispatch, license plate readers, gunshot sensors, and so on—in real time and presents them geospatially. In addition, other data such as weather forecasts, social and economic or demographic data may also have a correlation to specific types of crime and can certainly be leveraged in the model. HVS provides law enforcement with critical insight to improve intelligence, enhance investigative capabilities and increase operational efficiencies. Along with capturing real-time event data from sensors, HVS now offers the ability to provide geospatial visualizations for historical crime data in several forms, including heat maps. This feature is available in the Hitachi Visualization Predictive Crime Analytics (PCA) add-on module of the new Hitachi Visualization Suite 4.5 software release.
Traditional crime prevention models are built on personal experience, PCA removes those personal biases effectively analyzing thousands of factors capable of affecting crime. For instance, the PCA culls data such as weather patterns, public transit movements, social media activity, social services reports, and many more digital and video activities. Removing personal bias and employing machine learning analysis can also aid in creating a safer police force. Unfortunately, there are too many reports of Police using excessive force where a stop and frisk approach escalates into a violent confrontation. Policing is a stressful profession and predictive analytics could also be used to predict when personnel are reaching a breaking point and need to be reassigned.
HVS 4.5 and PCA was announced at the end of September 2015 and is currently being evaluated by a number of law enforcement agencies. Some of the agencies will participate in a double-blind trial, meaning they’ll run the predictive system in the background but won’t see the predictions when they happen. After carrying on with their normal day-to-day for a predetermined amount of time, Hitachi will then compare the PCA’s predictions to the actual police activity over the same time. A safe city will provide the foundation for a smart city.