"Currently, I do a report for the command staff and then several reports for individual divisions within the department that are geared toward that division only. We are looking at continuing our command staff report, but then putting together a bi-weekly comprehensive report that includes USEFUL information. Of course many of the things done now will be put in this report, but I would love some fresh ideas. I would like to hear your input on what kinds of reports and information you put out regularly that your department finds really useful. So….what’s useful? What just goes to the trash?"I was going to respond with a few ideas, but decided a blog post would be more effective. In Lincoln, we use various methods for keeping our command staff informed, one of which is CrimeView Dashboard. Although I like this product, the purpose of this post is not to promote it. The concepts are not dependent on the software. We were trying to get this kind of information in the hands of our staff way before we adopted CrimeView. These descriptions may give you some ideas on what kinds of information might be valuable to police commanders.
We organize these data into widgets, which reside on pages, which are within books--all electronic, and all updating automatically. The books are geographic: one for each of the department's command areas, and one that contains citywide data. Here's a description of the pages and widgets.
Current Trends Page
Widgets on the current trends in crime and dispatches. For example, this widget displays the workload trend in the past 14 days. Blue bars are calls for service,with the gray bars depicting the expected trend in the next 7 days, based on the past two years' history. The red line is the predicted trend line, which takes into account day of week variation:
Recent Crimes Page
Widgets for selected crimes within the previous 7 days. These are the kinds of crimes that are of particular interest in Lincoln, including gang-related offenses, retail business robberies, domestic violence, burglaries, thefts from autos, and this widget--drug-related crimes. The map is interactive: click on any icon for the details about that offense, or change the view from a map to a time-of-day chart, for example:
Persons of Interest
Widgets for the registered sex offenders, parolees, offenders on furlough from prison, drug court clients, gang members, and this one--registered sex offenders who have new addresses within the past week. Again the map is interactive, if you are in the app, you can click for the details::
Widgets about problem places, including such things as recent crimes at schools, addresses where we have responded to party disturbances, and this widget--a graduated symbol map of places with four or more false alarms in the past 90 days. We do a lot of work aimed at reducing false alarms, and this widget shows you the problem places right away. If you were actually inside the app, instead of this screen shot, you could click on the maximize button at the top right to take the map full screen:
Widgets for people with BOLOs and arrest warrants, over various time period lengths, such as this one--arrest warrants issued in the past week. I am a big believer that keeping pressure on people with arrest warrants has a pay off. You can click one of those buttons at the top of the frame if you would prefer to see these data as a table, rather than a map:
Part 1 Crime
The current trend in Part 1 offenses, compared to the same time period last year. In this screenshot, the data is rendered as a bar graph by offense type, but in the actual app, you can click one of those buttons at the top left for a day of week chart, an interactive map, a table of the data, a time of day chart, or a temporal heat grid:
Widgets for several things not categorized elsewhere, such as recent stolen gun cases, liquor license violations, and this widget of assault on police officers in the past 4 weeks:
Another way we deliver information to commanders is through threshold alerts. This is a snapshot of the citywide alerts in CrimeView Dashboard. When the threshold is exceeded, the icon turns red and pulsates, indicating at a glance something out of the ordinary. Commanders are interested in emerging problems that might be lost in the sheer volume of daily activity. That's the purpose of these alerts. Only one of these (graffiti vandalism) had fired off this morning. You can click on this screenshot for a larger view that is more legible: