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Utah firm unveils new crime-fighting technology

Published: Saturday, Aug. 31 2013 3:20 p.m. MDT

A Utah company is unveiling a new technology that it says will help law enforcement stop crime before it happens. The software is designed to help officers and analysts prevent crime, rather than reacting to incidents that have already occurred.

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DRAPER — A Utah company is unveiling a new technology that it says will help law enforcement stop crime before it happens.

CommandCentral Predictive, developed by Draper-based PublicEngines, is designed to help officers and analysts prevent crime, rather than reacting to incidents that have already occurred. The new product is built upon a platform that is used by hundreds of law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad, said PublicEngines CEO William Kilmer.

“(It) helps officers overcome the gap between analyzing information and giving them a more directed patrol plan to help them be more efficient,” Kilmer said.

Kilmer said the latest software is a highly accurate crime prediction tool designed to deliver daily reports to law enforcement officers to aid in predicting and preventing crime.

“The basic essence of the product is to provide a daily targeted and accurate crime prediction by area that law enforcement officers can use to figure out where they should be spending their time in order to best reduce crime,” Kilmer said.

He said the technology analyzes “what is accurately predictable and what is effectively preventable.”

He said property-related crimes are among the top issues the software can target because they occur “with some repetitiveness” and have distinct characteristics that are easier to follow.

“Most criminals don’t think of themselves as creatures of habit, but (that) is what makes it somewhat predictable,” Kilmer said. Being able to position officers in areas where property crimes are occurring can be a strong deterrent to potential perpetrators.

Drug trafficking is also a crime the technology is hoping to target in future versions.

Cost estimates for the new technology can range from “a few thousand dollars” to six figures, depending upon the size of the agency, he said.

While no law enforcement agencies or police departments are currently using the technology, such advances could prove useful if found to be reliable.

"If there is a system out there that is more accurate than what we're using now, then we are certainly going to want to look at it to see if the analysis is better and helps us become more efficient," said Salt Lake police detective Dennis McGowan. "There is no question (the department) would consider it."

Whether CommandCentral Predictive would be the tool of choice remains to be seen, he added.

PublicEngines is a provider of cloud-based solutions that aid in the facilitation of crime analysis, supply intelligence and increase community engagement for law enforcement, schools and governments with more than 2,000 customers worldwide.

In field tests, CommandCentral Predictive has proven to be 2.7 times more accurate than traditional analysis, according to Kilmer.

He is optimistic that law enforcement will recognize the value the new software could bring to real-life crime fighting.

“What we’re focused on is helping law enforcement agencies more efficiently allocate their resources,” Kilmer said. “Where should officers be in order to maximize their impact in the area (they patrol)?”

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