March 22, 2021

The impact of data analytics on community policing in Canada

Tara Myshrall

Topic:   Analytics

The police’s primary function is to serve and protect, a difficult job in the best of circumstances. With increasing budgetary constraints, widespread calls for reform, and rumblings among some sectors of the public regarding possible defunding, community police departments are under pressure to provide both protection and transparency to the communities they serve.

Empowering an effective, transparent police presence in our community involves more than just ensuring the right trained officer count. Equipping the police organization with data analytics improves its effectiveness with data-based decisions that could save lives.

The impact data analytics tools can have on improving police response times is real. Data analytics can help a community police force allocate budgets more effectively. Could the answer to developing a better relationship with members of law enforcement have something to do with access to timely trusted data? Could integrated data and citizen-facing data help community leaders better understand the challenges their police forces face? How can data analytics impact police spending, budgets, and their activities in your communities?

The impact of data analytics on community policing

Data analytics tools have the potential to make community police departments more effective. From using predictive analytics to determine where crime may occur to cutting fraud and waste to creating transparency in real-time responsiveness, data analytics can have a positive impact on community police departments and the citizens they serve.

For some time now, big-city police departments have used predictive data analytics to forecast patterns in criminal behaviour. This capability allows these departments to increase the police presence in an at-risk community to deter crimes.

However, there are other ways to use analytics to serve communities. For instance, data analytics can help commanders understand how well their patrol officers are covering their assigned areas each shift, enabling them to schedule and route officers more efficiently for better community coverage overall.

Building trust through transparency

Data analytics can provide community police departments with much-needed proof of how and where public dollars are being spent. Understanding how resources are being used builds a level of community trust and has the added benefit of surfacing areas wherein adjustments can be made.

For example, data analytics may reveal that a community police department receives and responds to a large percentage of calls regarding non-police activities. These calls would be better routed to the municipality, where they could be handled by the appropriate department instead. Knowing and addressing this problem could also reduce budgetary strain for the police department and ease personnel issues.

Data analytics and officer training and wellbeing

Data analytics can also help community police departments correctly allocate needed resources to officer training and wellbeing initiatives. As officers interact with the public, they encounter a variety of circumstances that require extensive training and continuing education regarding how to handle delicate situations involving mental health issues, domestic violence, and more.

Wellness dashboards that provide insights into what calls the officer is deployed to and how long they have spent on difficult call types provides an indication for how some officers are being impacted. These stats correlated with other data such as time off and sick leave can illuminate when an officer may be experiencing an impact to their health and wellness. Proactive steps can then be taken to get the officer the help and support needed. This translates into significant benefits to the community at large as the officers continue to protect and serve the public from a state of well being.

Data analytics help police organizations protect and serve

Data analytics play a huge role in helping police organizations serve and protect our communities. Better analytics lead to crime prevention, better resource allocation, employee wellness, increased transparency, and better organizational performance.

ibi, a TIBCO company, is proud to serve global communities by providing law enforcement the data analytics tools they need to serve the public. To see how ibi’s data and analytics platform can be transformational for law enforcement, watch the webinar entitled “Municipality of York Police: Leading Organizational Culture Change.”

About the author: Tara Myshrall, Public Sector Manager, ibi, a TIBCO company tmyshral@tibco.com

Tara Myshrall is an experienced Account Executive for the public sector and over the past 10 years, Tara has built a community of practice for organizations in healthcare, law enforcement, and municipalities by understanding and focusing on the needs and objectives of public organizations.

Prior to joining ibi, Tara was a Channel Account Executive and National Channel Trainer at DELL. Tara’s emphasis was on channel engagement to ensure that the channels targeted and met objectives.

Tara makes time to give back to her community –Writing a column “compelled to change ” in the Toronto Caribbean newspaper, participating as a board member for Basket brigade Canada, ensuring the community has food for holidays and during the pandemic.