Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Threshold alerts

Threshold alerts are automated emails that inform Lincoln police officers and commanders of crime trends or patterns that might otherwise be lost in the sheer volume of work we do. Threshold alerts merge our geographic crime analysis capabilities with the rich data resources provided by our own police database--the Lincoln Police Department's Records Management System.

With an average of about 400 events dispatched every day, it would be easy for an emerging trend or pattern to be missed. Enter Threshold Alerts. The queries are set up in advance, but after the initial set up, they are executed automatically with Windows Task Scheduler. The sky is the limit: if you can think of the question revolving around what, where, when, and how many, we can build a Threshold Alert. Every day, a group of more than 40 of these automated queries run during the early morning hours.

Threshold Alerts are a feature of one of our geographic crime analysis products, CrimeView from the Omega Group. We’ve had a long and productive working relationship with this firm since we first started using CrimeView in October, 2000. The most recent versions have included that ability to set up these automated queries that search for a certain number of incidents in a certain time period, occurring in a certain geographic area. The parameters of what, when, how many and where are defined by the user for each individual query.

As an example, Capt. Genelle Moore wants to know whenever there have been more than three commercial burglaries in the Northwest Team Area within the previous seven days. At 5:00 AM, the department’s geographic information system automatically runs a spatial query, and if that threshold number is met, Capt. Moore receives an automated email.
Attached to the email is a map of the offenses, and a tabular report (.pdf format, with hyperlinks) with the basic details. The case number is a link, and a click will take her to the complete case file—a splendid feature of our web-enabled and home-grown Records Management System.

Another Threshold Alert lets personnel know immediately if any high-risk sex offender appears in the department’s database with an address that is within 500 feet of a school. This automated notice alerts investigators to the potential violation of Lincoln’s residency restriction. Sgt. Michon Morrow receives a weekly threshold alert of repeat complaints at the same addresses about party disturbances in the Northwest Team Area; Officer Jeff Sorenson gets an alert whenever a new arrest warrant is issued for a resident of his beat; Capt. Brian Jackson is alerted to any narcotics cases during the preceding 24 hours, and so forth.

Getting information to officers quickly and making sense of the chaos of police work is a daunting task, but one at which the Lincoln Police Department excels. The quality of our primary police database and the partnership we have forged with the Omega Group, the supplier of our crime mapping software, has allowed us to do implement an interesting push technology that enhances the efficiency of our information systems.


Anonymous said...

A bit off topic here, but 11th and K st has many cars that do not yeild to people crossing the street. With the recent rise in Car Vs. People accidents cant you get some tickets out for those drivers that have open season on us people? Perhaps a plain clothes could act as a target and others write the ticket?
Jim J

Anonymous said...

Just to make it more realistic maybe Jim J should act as the target. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Don't be alarmed at the popping noises Chief, those aren't gunshots. It's the sound of people's heads exploding after they read this post.

They don't realize (or don't care) that LPD heads of as many problems proactively as they have to react to because of technology. Too bad people can't report crimes that didn't happen. At least crime trends can be measured.