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YOUNGSTOWN POLICE New software helps predict crime locations



Published: Tue, August 30, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The system would permit police to pinpoint pockets of crime.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

CITY HALL REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- The city's police department is making a significant upgrade to its crime mapping equipment that, among other things, would predict where certain crimes will be committed, said Chief Robert Bush.

The city's board of control Monday approved the $22,500 purchase of the CRIMESolv software and technical support from ARCBridge Consulting and Training Inc. of Herndon, Va. The money came from the federal Weed and Seed program.

The city's 911 emergency center has a computer system that provides basic criminal mapping information, but nothing as sophisticated as what the police department is getting, Bush said. The new system should be in place in less than two months, he said.

The system would permit the police department to pinpoint pockets of crime by location, date and time as well as similar crimes that occurred in those areas, said police Lt. Rod Foley, head of the department's vice squad who was involved in getting the system to Youngstown.

How it works

"It provides geographical information to pick up on trends of certain crimes," he said. "We generate so many paper reports that they all blend in together after a while. This will allow us to see the information on a computer screen. We're trying to get more into the technology age."

For example, if there is a rash of vehicle thefts in a certain area, the computer program would list the times, dates and exact locations of each crime as well as similar crimes -- such as trespassing and attempted auto theft -- in that area and nearby, Bush said.

"If we find a pattern now, we'd have to go through paper files and spend hours finding all the information," he said. "With this software, we can get it so much faster."

The system also would forecast where crimes may occur in the future based on past criminal information, Bush and Foley said.

"It will help us put resources in areas in need because it can pick up future trends," Foley said.

skolnick@vindy.com




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