Lincoln’s ground-breaking LBS application for police, P3i, has gone commercial. The University of Nebraska’s research commercialization program, NUtech Venutures, has helped the UNL developers form a marketing arrangement with the Omega Group, makers of CrimeView, a popular suite of GIS and crime analysis software products for law enforcement. The Omega Group has rebranded P3i as CrimeView NEARme.
Prior to this roll out, developers Ian Cottingham and Kevin Farrell added a few new features, one of which I am particularly intrigued with: location-aware crime bulletins. Among the products the Lincoln Police Department’s Crime Analysis Unit produces are printed crime bulletins. These are usually one or two page documents meant to inform officers of an emerging crime trend, a series of related cases, a new criminal enterprise, a specific suspect, and so forth.
Lincoln is not unique in this regard. This is a bread-and-butter product of crime analysts all around the country, and documents of this type are thumb-tacked on police bulletin boards world wide. More recently, many departments have begun distributing such bulletins as .pdfs on their Intranet.
While crime bulletins come in a variety of flavors, many relate to a specific geographic area. Our Crime Analysis Unit Manager, Andrew Dasher, observed one day that a location-based services app like P3i would be a great way to deliver such content to officers in the field: as you entered the area where the bulletin information was relevant, a link would appear on the map, and a click would open the bulletin alongside the map. The developers ran with that idea, and here’s what the result looks like, on the Windows version of CrimeView NEARme: