Law enforcement agencies are under constant pressure to improve performance. Even when crime levels are low or falling, isolated failures are highlighted in the media. This has a negative impact on public perceptions and the reactions of decision-makers.
Unfortunately, gathering intelligence and analyzing it to pinpoint likely threats is never easy. Serious crime is often associated with organized gangs and networks, which may be linked with other groups at a national or international level. Law enforcement agencies need to track these complex and fast changing networks and relationships, while spotting trends and interpreting visual patterns, especially in that critical golden hour of any investigation after an incident has occurred.
Currently, most are struggling to make best use of the data at their disposal. In a recent Economist Intelligence Unit study, more than 53 per cent of all organizations surveyed said they are not leveraging ALL of their valuable data. They say that – at best – they’re leveraging roughly half of it. And 24 per cent say their most valuable data isn’t being leveraged at all. In the context of law enforcement this means agencies could be missing key nuggets of data that could help identify suspicious activity or criminal threats.
This problem is made worse by spending cuts in many regions worldwide. Staffing levels have been slashed in many forces while spending on IT architectures and supporting systems has also been hard hit. Forces are finding it difficult to access big data, analyze it quickly and see the bigger picture.
Ultimately, it leads to agencies struggling to make decisions based on all of their data or to allocate resources to more effectively intervene, suppress or prevent crime.
The solution: data visualization
Fortunately a new breed of solutions is emerging that will help forces proactively tackle these challenges. Instead of forcing agencies to use sampling and subsetting techniques, the latest visual analytics tools enable them to visualize and analyze their whole data set. This in turn allows them to paint a complete picture of the policing situation in their area.
Data visualization technology allows agencies to explore and find answers to key questions quickly and efficiently within the masses of data they are trying to exploit. This ensures an effective response to tactical situations, allowing more time to be devoted to strategically tackling long-term, complex problems. Critically too, this capability helps forces spot trends and interpret visual patterns in the vast data volumes they have at their disposal in the ‘golden hour’.
Tactical and strategic reports can be quickly created for executive briefings, using data taken from a wide range of sources and delivered in multiple different formats including on web and mobile-based platforms. Decisions can be made based on solid, robust data. Equally, resources can be effectively allocated to guide intervention and crime prevention.
The new breed of visual analytics technologies are today helping law enforcement agencies the world over reduce risk by driving faster time to insight and ultimately better decision-making.
Read more about how visual analytics can help you see what you’ve been missing.