The crime mapping cloud

September 26, 2014

Law enforcement has another potent weapon in its arsenal: cloud-based crime maps. While it might be easy to dismiss this as just a trend, it should be noted that since the 1800's, police have been using maps to analyze and predict crimes based on location and type.

Crime-mapping makes its way to the cloud
In both the United States and the rest of the world, law enforcement runs on a very tight, sometimes outright insufficient budget. Crime mapping today requires the use of GPS and satellite technology, and departments in areas that lack that infrastructure can't take advantage of the benefits of it. Luxuries like a team of researchers mapping crimes and analyzing trends are simply out of the question for cash strapped police forces. 

CloudTweaks reported that the unavailability of this technology is being assuaged by enterprising cloud companies who can provide cloud mapping services for law enforcement, while shielding them from the unwieldy costs and infrastructure requirements. 

Citizens and police alike can upload incidences of crimes to the cloud server – sharing their nature and location with analysts. But while the storage capabilities are impressive, it's the breadth of analysis that can be done by a wide array of experts on the various data points. Analysts can examine density, trends, topographies and other aspects of crime over a period of time and give an unheralded level of predictive power to law enforcement. 

Reading, Pennsylvania takes the lead
The Reading, Pennsylvania police department has become the first police department in the northeast United States to take advantage of cloud-based crime mapping with the purpose of predicting and eventually deterring crime. Reading Police Chief William Heim is hopeful that the move to crime mapping in the cloud will allow his department to better manage its resources. 

"This predictive policing software is going to take our crime mapping to the next level and allow us to get the most out of deploying our officers to reduce crime," he said.

Instead of having to spread their forces thin, Reading police will be able to concentrate their attention on the highest risk areas. And the new software has already paid off – almost immediately, Reading police stopped a car theft and a burglary in progress by basing their patrol routes on the predictions made by the crime maps. 

"This technology is a force multiplier; and it provides our police officers with another way to use their skills and energy to make Reading safer," said Reading's Mayor, Vaughan Spencer.