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.