The Houston Police Department will roll out technology that more effectively arms street officers with crime data, reducing to seconds or minutes what historically has taken hours or days, says the Houston Chronicle. Houston will incorporate best practices of data-driven policing, a strategy that has become increasingly popular among major cities since the Sept. 11 attacks. The model relies heavily on the idea of sharing data among various databases, public and private, and getting information quickly into the hands of those who need it.
Relying more on technology is a critical component – along with overtime and recruiting – of the department’s goal to reduce the crime rate by 10 percent in three years. The new data-based project will be housed at police headquarters in an area to be called the crime control center. The project, expected to be completed next month, will be part of the department’s command center and will operate 24-7. The software is scheduled to be tested in November and officially online in January. The center’s ”data wall” features two huge screens that ultimately will allow teams – each composed of a ”criminal intelligence analyst” and an officer – to post the likes of a map showing locations of that night’s robberies or live feeds from downtown surveillance cameras.