Seattle Police Start Real Time Crime Center To Get Ahead Of Crime Patterns


In an effort to tackle crime while it's happening, Seattle police are launching the Real Time Crime Center, said Chief Kathleen O'Toole. A team of crime analysts, information-technology experts and detectives will work to provide patrol officers with up-to-the-minute information about crimes in progress, reports the Seattle Times. Seattle joins other departments with such centers, including Fresno, Memphis and New York City. “We're always chasing a pattern. We're trying, now, to get ahead of that pattern,” said Mike Wagers, the Seattle police chief operating officer. “When we see a spike [in crime], we hope to provide information to the field to get ahead of a crime trend.” Wagers said the center will use technology and crime analysis to help patrol officers and detectives find patterns and hot spots for anything from a Priority 1 call, which can include violent or gun-related crimes, to a Priority 3, which can include a report of a suspicious person, a missing car or other crimes not in progress.

Mayor Ed Murray commended the department for not just using the center to focus on high-priority violent crimes. “When you're a victim of a crime, it's real for you.” Brandon Bouier, a systems analyst, said, “We can analyze historical data to see a trend. We can evaluate if this is part of a normal trend or an anomalous situation. By virtue of seeing all of this information at once, there is a way to tie things together.” For example, in the case of a home burglary, police might learn it's one of a handful in a several-mile radius. By pulling up 911 records and comparing notes on all of the burglaries, the center might find a tip about a possible suspect or a potential lead on a car seen in the area.

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