Dragnet Gets a Makeover: Improving public Safety with Predictive Analytics


The Results Driven Policing Conference, which was put on by the Penn State University Justice and Safety Institute and held in Baltimore recently, showcased the great performance improvements achieved by forward thinking law enforcement agencies throughout the United State and Canada. These agencies are under increasing pressure to improve public safety even as their staff and other resources required are cut due to the economic crisis. As the old saw goes, “necessity is the mother of invention” and a number of resource-constrained organizations are a case in point.

Take the East Orange Police Department for example. Faced with rising crime and unemployment rates but decreasing budgets, they turned to information technology to dramatically improve their performance while optimizing their resources. As Director Cordero of the East Orange PD stated in his presentation at the conference, “technology-enabled strategies have produced world class results, results that matter to the residents of our city”. Check out these links to view Director Cordero’s announcement of the system and to get a more in-depth explanation of how the system works.

Using a combination of data integration, business intelligence, data mining, and predictive analytics, East Orange police officers are alerted to emerging situational events, patterns, and trends- enabling the deployment of resources to potential “hot spots” before or immediately after a crime occurs. As a result, they are able to prevent crime rather than just react to it, which dramatically improves the efficiency of the force while enhancing public safety. The results: an incredible 76% reduction in the crime rate over the past 6 years in East Orange.

This is but one shining example of what can be accomplished through the application of advanced analytics. All organizations have plenty of data and the data that is being collected continues to grow exponentially. But, we all have to remember that all data is useless. That’s right- it is useless! That is, unless you analyze it. Innovative government organizations ranging from law enforcement to social services to natural resources are improving their results and citizen outcomes by taking actions that are derived from insight. How do they gain that insight? It is gained by analyzing their data- “seeing” things that they haven’t seen before. Knowing things that they haven’t known before.

Stay tuned as I explore more ways that the application of advanced analytics in state and local governments are improving the lives of citizens around the world- even in difficult economic times. In the meantime, I invite you to post your comments and stories of analytic-inspired innovation here or feel free to contact me at tim.finnegan@sas.com.


About Author

Tim Finnegan

Director, State & Local Government practice

As Director of the State & Local Government practice at SAS, Tim Finnegan leads the sales efforts of a $42 million business that brings the power of SAS analytics to all 50 state governments, as well as counties and municipalities across the U.S. Tim’s 20-year career in information technology spans from the advent of the personal computer and the internet to today’s massively parallel grid and cloud computing. In his role as sales director, he oversees SAS’ commitment to helping state and local government organizations leverage technology to improve the quality of life of their citizens while maximizing resources and budgets. Finnegan is an active member of the North Carolina Technology Association and serves on the Enterprise Architecture Committee of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers. He holds a degree in business administration from Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, North Carolina, where he was a member of the Anne Horne Little Honors Program, president of the student body and captain of the men’s varsity soccer team.

1 Comment

  1. Ann Henderson on

    I was reading over the blogs, and the East Orange success you mention is inspiring. Great to see such incredible results. The client must be thrilled.

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