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Smarter Public Safety

Analyzing patterns for safer cities

What do the greatest crimefighters have in common?

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Whether they're on our streets or in our literature, they know how to get inside a criminal's mind, and they seem to have a sixth sense that points out the next emergency hot spot before an event occurs.

With data collection happening everywhere for all kinds of purposes, real-life problem solvers have new ways to enhance their intuition. For solutions to everything from traffic tie-ups to security breeches, public safety agencies can gather disparate, voluminous data and use analytics to derive new insights and uncover trends before they become systemic issues or criminal events.

The IBM Intelligent Operations Center (US) synchronizes and analyzes information gathered from diverse data-collection systems. Patterns revealed through analytics help decision makers anticipate—rather than just react to—problems, and dispatch first responders to the scene faster. The results, such as predictive policing, mean better citizen-centered service...whether minimizing inconveniences, overseeing emergencies or stopping crime.


Memphis: getting the jump on crime

With increasing crime rates, the City of Memphis Police Department (MPD) (US) needed to improve response time. But having to search through an array of spreadsheets and paper files added hours to officers' searches for vital information. So the city ambitiously resolved to implement innovative new practices to predict, track and respond promptly to crimes, while cost-effectively upgrading its resources and increasing the overall effectiveness of the department.

Since incorporating IBM SPSS predictive analytics software, the MPD has reduced serious crime by more than 30 percent and expanded its effective coverage area without a proportional increase in staff. The software analyzes historical and current data quickly and updates it continually to evaluate incident patterns and identify the most likely crime hot spots. With its improved analytical and statistical capabilities and increased data visibility, the MPD can identify, target and respond to crime more effectively.


Top 10 safest cities in 2011

Keeping our cities safe is a critical factor in their economic viability

Public officials are turning to the same technology advances that businesses have been using—autonomic sense-and-respond capabilities, analytics, visualization and computational modeling—to make our public safety systems smarter, and drive a fundamental shift from responding to events to anticipating and preventing them, when possible.

Madrid, Spain: lessons from a terrorist attack
Created in the aftermath of the terrorist train bombings on March 11, 2004, the Integrated Security and Emergency Centre (PDF, 179KB) for Madrid coordinates the resources and efforts of the police, fire, highway, hotline and ambulance units, among others. A 90-foot wall of screens displays traffic video from surveillance cameras, maps with GPS data, and the status and location of personnel.

Chicago, U.S.: citywide surveillance
IBM has worked with the city of Chicago to develop Operation Virtual Shield, which is among the most advanced citywide intelligent security systems. Encompassing one of the world's largest video security deployments, Operation Virtual Shield includes large-scale video surveillance and incorporates license plate recognition, advanced search and trending capabilities.

Colombia: united front against organized crime
The Financial Information Analysis Unit of the Colombian government worked with IBM to develop a tool that could systematically gather information across different agencies, and analyze it to identify potentially related crimes. The SOA-based system links 16 government entities into a single, united front to fight organized crime.