This paper will discuss three information technology systems used by modern policing and how these three technologies had assisted in the improvement of the community policing program. These three technologies are the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) database of the FBI, Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) and Crime mapping. The paper has provided a detailed discussion on the significant benefits that the technologies had on law enforcement operations, specifically on community-oriented policing (COP), the drawbacks of these technologies on law enforcement operations and the specific problems that had been directly addressed by UCR, CAD and Crime mapping. These three technologies are beneficial in compiling data such as criminal statistics, criminal analyses of patrol officers, creation of better policing programs that will work for both the police department officials and community members to ensure crime prevention and successful criminal investigations.
Keywords: Uniform Crime Report, Computer-Aided Dispatch, Crime mapping and community-oriented policing.
The annual Uniform Crime Report (UCR) establishes a reporting system wherein the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) requires the gathering information from various police departments of different states on the number of criminal acts. The data gathered by the FBI were derived from the reports of citizens and information from law enforcement agencies on each state regarding persons arrested for violation of law (Siegal and Welsh, 2010). Police officials find the use of UCR to be helpful in compiling data about criminal statistics and analyses to assist the law enforcement department in improving the performance of the organization and creation of new programs to promote unified efforts of police officers and community members for crime prevention. The UCR data gathered by the FBI is the commonly-used source of statistics on national crime and juvenile delinquency for the government to be able to efficiently address the issues.
Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) will help the police operations in terms of dispatching their police patrol units, monitor taxicabs, mass transit vehicles and other emergency services through the use of the computer. The CAD creates a dispatch center for the citizens and the police in the field of public safety (Dempsey and Forst, 2011). It enables them to send messages using a mobile data terminal (MDT) that can store and retrieve data including schedules, radio logs, interviews and information about a certain individual that can help solve criminal investigations.
Crime mapping can be used by the law enforcement agencies in order to visualize, map, and conduct crime incident analysis based on the reports they gather. This will help the law enforcement analyze crime patterns with the help of the data gathered from the general public. Crime mapping crime enables the police to determine the crime pattern, trends and hot spots (Dempsey and Forst, 2011).
The drawback for CAD and crime mapping is that the data obtained from these systems may be doubted for accuracy such as if the maps match the precision of the Global Positioning System (GPS) units of the law enforcement agencies (Reid, 2011). In the case of crime mapping, even though there is an improvement on the process of data collection and the quality of computerized maps, police must observe caution and care to ensure that the maps will show the exact location of the GPS unit to avoid unsuccessful police operation.
Dempsey and Forst (2011) stated that these technologies techniques have revolutionized policing and have made the police more effective in combating crimes in the community and in their other duties. The wave of technological advancement has changed the lives of many individuals, business and institutions in the nation have also made significant reforms in our justice system. This includes the manner on how the police fights crimes, tracking down of criminals, and how to many law enforcement resources to the types of crimes the country is faced with. Thus, new technologies can aid the law enforcement agencies to prevent crime, apprehend criminals, manage offender populations and protect the public from the threats of terrorism (Dempsey and Forst, 2011, p.435).
The use of these technologies will improve the performance of the police departments with the participation of the public through timely reporting of crimes. The use of the technologies is considered as an efficient measure to deter the increase of the present crime rate in society. It is through the creation of a proficient data management system which shall be responsible in the data retrieval process that will assist the analysts to study important details used in criminal profiling such as computerized map locations to trace locations of criminals.
Dempsey, J.S. and Forst, L.S.(2011). An Introduction to Policing. New York: Cengage.
Reid, S.T. (2011). Criminal Justice Essentials. Massachusetts: John Wiley and Sons.
Siegal, L. and Welsh, B. (2010). Juvenile Delinquency: The Core. Wadsworth Cengage: