Springfield Police Announce New Crime Intelligence Center
More technology is being put into fighting crime in Springfield, Massachusetts. The city’s police department will become the first in the Northeast to use a system that developers say allows for true real-time crime analysis.
Springfield police officers responding to a 911 call will receive information from crime analysts in a second floor office in police headquarters, who use sophisticated software to quickly scan feeds from traffic cameras to locate getaway cars, or use a single search engine to scour in seconds multiple databases containing information on criminal suspects.
" The goal is to provide them with as much information so they have situational awareness when they respond to calls in progress that involve violence or property crimes or other critical incidents," said Springfield Police Commissioner John Barbieri on Friday as he unveiled the department’s Real Time Crime Analysis and Intelligence Center for city officials and members of the news media.
The center will receive video feeds from all city-owned cameras and some private cameras where owners have given permission. An acoustic gunshot detection system that Springfield has had for several years will also be tied-in. The crime analysts will have access to numerous databases containing photographs, descriptions of unknown suspects, criminal histories, and firearms records.
The department spent about $1 million to purchase the software and hardware for the new center and for police radio upgrades.
" It is our desire that through the use of this technology our officers will become more effective in aiding the citizens of this city," said Barbieri.
Representatives of Motorola Solutions, Inc, who put on a demonstration of some of the center’s capabilities Friday, said Springfield is the first city in the Northeast with this system.
Barbieri said the center will be fully operational by next spring and will have two supervisors and six full-time crime analysts.
" These are specially trained personnel who understand algorithms, trends and patterns, predictive behavior," said Barbieri.
William Schwarz, director of crime analysis for the Springfield Police Department, said the technology in the new center is cutting edge and a first step toward predicting where and when certain crimes will take place.
" A lot of places claim to have real time analysis, but if you don't have analysts in place to read these reports as they come in, and look at a map, and adjust resources on the fly then you are not really real time," said Schwarz.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said the crime intelligence center was one of the innovations Barberi promised to undertake when he was appointed police commissioner last year.
" It is going to help keep our residents safe," said Sarno. " I am very proud of our Springfield Police Department."
Sarno has increased funding for the police department in each of the last two city budgets. The department now has more than 400 police officers for the first time since the 1990s.