Real Life Application
Contact Omega for more information (Disclosure: I have no financial ties to this program……….but I am partial to it )
Continue Reading »
For the last few weeks I have been pondering upon the framework that encapsulates the Locations Based Policing (LBP) model. I’m currently working on a scholarly article that sums up the premises and differences between this policing model and some of the other models that are currently being utilized. What it boils down to is fairly simplistic.
LBP marries intelligence and information products with location sensing devices (GPS). Police officers will be able to leverage this marriage by relying on some of the existing principles within the evidence-based policing strategies and criminal profiling standards. In essence, an officer will receive information pertinent to them at the crime scene rather than having to return to the office or call someone to do the research for them. In certain cases time is of utmost importance. Child abduction cases come to mind. There is a lot of research out there that pertains to profiling offenders based on location. Very rarely do you run into an offender that drives three states over to randomly target a child. What is more likely is that the offender has some sort of history and has encountered the child at some point in their daily routine. The child’s paths (walking to school, going to the grocery store, etc..) are able to be coded into GIS. Combine this location knowledge with the fact that you know where sex offenders and family members/caregivers live (the two most likely suspect groups) and you can begin to develop timely suspect development information.
The other scenario that pops in my head is a burglary. If I was an officer that just responded to the scene of a residential burglary, what are some things that I would love to know?
- I would like to see anyone that lives close to the scene that has a criminal history (especially property crimes). A pin map pops up on my mobile computer with that map.
- I would like to see anyone that has pawned similar items that lives in the area. Another pin map pops up and displays the data.
- I want to see where all the city owned intersection cameras are in this area; in case I want to review video. The map displays the cameras.
- I want to see where my department’s license plate readers have been today to see if they recorded any tags in the area associated with my “top ten burglars that are currently out of jail” list. The map pops up displaying a temporal map with shaded areas displaying which camera was in which area at what time frame (Seemed far fetched? Departments are currently storing this type of data. All you have to do is attach a gps device to the reader so it can record its location as well).
- Finally, I want to see other incidents in the area that have occurred over the past few days and see if there are any suspects in those cases. Voila! The map displays these incidents.
The important thing to remember is that this information is not being queried per say. It is being pushed to the officer as it is requested. The officer can choose what information he wants to see, the area he wants to select, and the time frame he is interested in. This type of technology is going to revolutionize departments that allow their officers to investigate cases thoroughly.Continue Reading »
Here is a fun site (courtesy of State Farm) that integrates some street view “grabs” from Google Maps.
What I like is the fact that so many people are starting to integrate mapping into their daily lives.
Enjoy!Continue Reading »
Here is another really cool website that I stumbled on this week. GadgetTrak
This is one of those websites that would be great for any police department to put into their toolbox. The science is pretty simple. Every digital camera in the world imprints data (Raw Image File) upon a digital picture file. There are all sorts of goodies that can be grabbed from searching through this data, to include: Location (GPS enabled cameras), Date, Time, Sensor, Shutter, etc.. Another one of the items printed in the Raw Image File is serial number.
GadgetTrak is able to search across the web for any serial number imprinted upon a digital image. If your camera is stolen simply go to this website, enter your serial number, and also make/model (cameras do share serial numbers across different makes). The website will reveal any matches that it finds and you can start your investigation (the website claims that it has a database of 10 million unique serial numbers to scan through). If you’re lucky you might even get a self portrait of the perp. If you’re REAL lucky you will get some lat/long info as to where the picture was taken.Continue Reading »
Saw a great article this morning in reference to a new Android app floating around. Purdue University has been developing an app that will allow its user to decipher gang graffiti by simply using a picture taken via the smart-phone. What I find really cool (and applicable to Location Based Policing) is that the app also records the Lat/Long of the picture so that the graffiti can be mapped at a later time.
Augmented Reality is a relatively new field being explored in smart-phone apps. Basically, Augmented Reality apps display a different view of the environment, around the user, on the display screen. A very basic example of this is an architect placing a design somewhere on a landscape that hasn’t been built yet. You simply turn on the camera in the phone and the app overlays the structure onto the camera’s view. Pretty cool, huh.
One of the earliest adopters of this technology built an IPhone app called Word Lens. This app allows the user to translate written Spanish into English. I’ve used the app quite a bit and I must say that it’s pretty nifty. You can see where law enforcement might be able to use this type of app. I’m not fluent in Spanish, but with the help of this app I gain a little more understanding of the Spanish language. Here’s a video demonstrating Word Lens:
Back to the Purdue graffiti app…….I think that Augmented Reality is going to be a key player in LBP. One of the ideas that has been floating around my head (article to come in the future) is the idea of using Augmented Reality to overlay interiors of houses by tapping into “Tax Assessor Sketches” and “Building Permit Sketches”. This type of information would prove invaluable in the case of serving a high risk warrant or during SWAT incidents.Continue Reading »
Has anyone else noticed that video cameras are everywhere nowadays? As I was driving home last night it amazed me how many cameras were positioned all around the city. First of all I noticed the traffic cameras that Lincoln has set up around the city. These cameras were small and discreet but were quite numerous. Next, I noticed all the cameras that private businesses have set up for security purposes. These come in all shapes and sizes, but stop and think about how many you encounter on any given day. Stop at McDonald’s on you way home? Drive-through – gotcha on camera Counter Service – gotcha on camera. Did you stop by the ATM machine? Gotcha on camera (I always make sure to make a silly face at these cameras as I drive off…….just to give some entertainment to a poor sap if he ever has to review the video). Did you feel up your car with gas? Gotcha on camera. You see where I am going with this.
Let’s throw aside the ACLU issues for a second and focus on what is happening in our society. Between 1996 – 2006 London spent over $750 million installing 1 MILLION cameras throughout the city. That is a heckuva investment! The article (see previous link) states that London’s payoff for the venture thus far has been ONE conviction based solely off video evidence. $750 million for one arrest…..hmmmmm. Not to mention that the cameras have not served as a deterrent as the crime rates are pretty much unchanged. That being said, I think London has an interesting idea. I don’t think that the US should become a “Big Brother” state by any stretch of the imagination, but I would love to tap into the existing resources that are available.
Location Based Policing (LBP) is a way to leverage technology and geospatial information to an officer’s advantage. With Lincoln’s extensive video network in place I could easily track offenders and their activities. One technology the Lincoln Department uses is that of License Plate Readers (LPR). Great technology!
Lets suppose that I am having a problem with burglaries in a particular neighborhood. With the help of my Crime Analysis Unit I am able to ascertain that the perp is driving a vehicle and loading up lots of stuff on it. Instead of paying an officer $20 an hour to sit and watch the neighborhood why don’t I use a mobile LPR platform. How easy would it be to program the LPR to communicate with our in-house database. If a vehicle registered to a known offender enters the neighborhood, then the proper personnel could be notified. In addition, I could also link it to known offender associates (in case our perp borrowed a car) and I could even have it notify me if there is a rental car entering the neighborhood (in case the perp is renting a Uhaul or something). This might sound far fetched, but the LPRs are already linking into state DMV files so it stands to reason that linking into personal databases aren’t that far off.
If you have a city that has an extensive video camera network then you could take this a step further. You could have the system notify you when a repeat offender enters a neighborhood that he/she has no business in (no known associates, no family, no job, etc) based off your in-house intel and information. New York has been toying with some of these principles. The future is coming quicker than you think……..Continue Reading »