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January 8, 2019

As cities evolve to adapt to rapid changes in global technology, infrastructure, and populations, the scope and level of crime has also changed – making it tougher than ever before to police the modern city. 

To remain efficient at reducing crime and maintain public safety, your modern police department needs to evolve too. You have to be able to keep on top of events as they happen and find ways to respond faster in emergency situations.

Disconnected data sources cause confusion and delays

When an emergency happens, decisions need to be made quickly. Yet many of today’s police departments are operationally hindered by the “siloed” systems they rely upon - where each source of data coming into the command center is separate from the rest.

During a critical situation, not only is time wasted collecting information from all the many separate data sources, but there is also no fast way of connecting the dots to make sense of it all.

“It’s great to have all this technology, but very often the term used by some of the police departments is that they are data rich but information poor,” says Hayder Kadhim, Global Delivery Lead for Justice and Public Safety here at Genetec.

The consequence is a delay in response times, leaving officers ill-prepared when arriving on the scene of a reported incident which also means their safety could be at an increased risk.

How Chicago reduced response times by 39% and violent crime by 24%

Following record high numbers of shootings and murders in 2016, the Chicago PD turned to Genetec to find a better way to use existing intelligence scattered across its many departments. To address a situation at the point of crisis, they needed to develop a more responsive, analytical approach to the command centers they had in place.

The City of Chicago built its first Strategic Decision Support Centers (SDSCs) using Genetec Citigraf™, our decision support system, as a foundation. SDSCs are designed to create targeted crime reduction strategies, improve first-response operations, and facilitate investigations. This happens by analyzing data coming in from multiple sources, such as computer-aided dispatch (CAD), video surveillance, automatic license plate recognition technology, gunshot detection, face recognition, and record management systems.

Since rolling out its Citigraf-based SDSCs over a year ago, police response times have been reduced by as much as 39% in two of Chicago’s most violent districts.

Additionally, the latest reports show that Chicago’s overall violent crime is down by 24%, shootings down over 70%, and murders down by 43%. Police directly attribute these improvements to the crime management capability enabled by the city’s growing number of SDSCs.

See how Chicago did it in the video below.

Connect the dots with connected data

Citigraf leverages all existing data from the core software foundation it is built upon. This technology lets operators easily access data from multiple video and audio sensors, plus incident history and crime trends in the area, stringing all of the information together on one shared interface.

“That allows the operator not to be overwhelmed by everything they see. Instead, they’re able to just view this data in a very intuitive manner, and focus only on what’s relevant to the real-time situation they’re addressing,” says Kadhim.

In addition to this cohesive visualization capability, the system can make correlations based on parameters like time and location within a click of a button.

An operator can quickly look for specific points of data based on advanced correlations, helping to make fast sense of real-time events following an emergency call - a car fleeing a specific location at more than 80km/h following a reported incident, for example, may point to a suspect and produce an alert.

Using highly accurate GIS location and visual information, responders can interpret the alert, rapidly cross-reference it with other data, and share the information instantly with field personnel. In this way, safer and smarter decisions can be made, all in a matter of seconds.

See how having a real-time access to video surveillance footage has helped the New Orleans Police Department save more than 2,000 man-hours in their Real-Time Crime Center's (RTCC's) first year.

Why Chicago chose Citigraf to power their SDSCs

Conscious of their own strict budgetary limits, the Chicago PD was impressed with the affordability that accompanied the unique architecture of the Genetec SDSC model - less costly than competitor service offerings.

The city was further motivated when learning how fast Genetec would be able to help launch its first SDSC; The first command centers were up and running in just two months, faster than anyone thought possible.

Setting up an SDSC in your community

A quick and cost-effective deployment of an SDSC is possible. Our experience with police leadership in both small and large metro areas has helped us develop an inclusive SDSC strategy for law enforcement agencies around the world with Citigraf.

Learn how you can better direct resources and be more responsive to your community’s needs in this video.

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