Data-driven decision making in law enforcement

Morgan Hitzig

In recent years, many private sector organizations have aggressively adopted data-driven decision making. There are dozens upon dozens of companies creating solutions to store data, create and manage data architecture, ingest data, clean and consolidate data, and integrate data (I.e., ETL infrastructure). These point products are all in service of facilitating data-driven decision making, but few are holistic solutions.  

The public sector has far fewer options. For state and local agencies like law enforcement departments, there are comparatively fewer technology solutions specifically catered to their needs and budgetary constraints that help them leverage their data. Like the private sector, more are point solutions than comprehensive, end-to-end platforms.

At the same time, the amount of data public safety agencies manage is exploding. New challenges require new technologies, like body-worn cameras or automated license plate readers (ALPR), which all produce their own data. They exist alongside decades-old tools like computer-aided dispatch (CAD) and record management systems (RMS), and the data produced by these systems and tools do not work well together. 

There’s a tongue-in-cheek refrain that the swivel chair is the best technology innovation for officers in HQ because they can move from monitor-to-monitor and program-to-program to get the information they need. It's hyperbolic but reflects the realities for most law enforcement agencies — there is more public safety data than ever before, it’s fragmented across dozens of systems, and agencies traditionally have not had a powerful and affordable way to bring it together to underpin decision-making.  

Peregrine is the only company solving this problem on a fundamental level. Our platform can dynamically integrate, secure, model, and transform a department’s data — of any type or scale — along with external data sources. This truly empowers law enforcement officials at every level to better identify problems and craft more effective, data-driven solutions to keep people and their communities safe. Our customers use Peregrine in dozens of unique ways, but here are some starting points.

Greater impact with strategic resource deployment

Modern law enforcement must address rising crime trends with increasingly limited resources. In 2021, there was a 45% increase in retirements and an 18% jump in resignations year over year, and thefts and robberies in major cities increased by around 20 percent in the first half of 2022.

Without real-time, data-driven insights, crime prevention efforts are often geared towards an entire community instead of the drivers of crime — an inefficient allocation of resources. 

Peregrine enables department leaders to drill down and understand on a block-by-block basis where crimes are happening, what times of day they’re occurring, and involved persons. Command staff will truly understand the drivers of crime on a granular level and can deploy officers as well as other resources accordingly to most effectively reduce crime.   

Command staff can also use accurate, real-time data to better engage with department personnel and empathetically manage officer wellness issues. Fewer officers dealing with a precipitous rise in violent crime means each officer is encountering more violence on the job. Using hard data to identify officers who've had a lot of exposure to high stress situations means that leaders can engage with them early to help them balance workload and get them the resources they need. Consideration of officer wellness will also mitigate resource allocation challenges. 

Community engagement 

Leveraging data to formulate strategies to most effectively reduce crime is vital to keeping people and communities safe. It also makes engaging with communities about those strategies easier and simpler.

Empowering patrol officers, who are the direct service providers in cities and towns around the country, can materially improve relationships with a community. Better, holistic crime prevention efforts can only be achieved if patrol officers can access real-time, in-context information when and how they need it.  

Imagine officers are called to a scene, and they know in advance that the subject has had prior behavioral health incidents. They will be better able to deploy specific approaches that can effectively deescalate the situation and get the individual the proper help they need. The same is true of a potentially dangerous encounter — knowing in advance if a suspect has been involved in violent crimes can help them to formulate an effective approach and potentially save lives. 

With Peregrine, department leaders can answer questions from community groups or elected officials like “Why did law enforcement take a certain action in a certain situation,” “Can you explain where and why patrol officers are deployed” or “How are you taking action relative to stated departmental priorities?” with ease. 

Peregrine’s dynamic reports update with real-time information, enabling department personnel to actively decide to share proactive reports on public safety efforts — on an ad-hoc or recurring basis — and quickly respond to public records requests.  

Improving calls for service with real-time information and proactively sharing data that is driving decisions can materially improve community and department relations. 

Government reporting requirements 

Public safety agencies must also be able to accurately report on their efforts to local, state, and federal agencies and government entities in addition to the public they serve. This reporting is vital to cultivate nation-wide best practices and improve policing. However, valid concerns that data may be inaccurate, incomprehensive, or include content that should not be disclosed for privacy reasons materially slows both proactive and reactive reporting. 

And even if departments were confident in their data, the logistics of collating fragmented information make timely reporting too hard. Before Peregrine, a simple task like reporting crime statistics to local, state, or federal officials took dozens upon dozens of hours. Staff would collate the information from various, disparate sources, clean and reform the data, then plot it on a map, then share it. After all that, it’s likely out of date.

Case in point – in 2021, according to the FBI, crime statistics for California, Florida, and Maryland were based on a fraction of law enforcement agencies in the state for that year. 

We help several of our customers convert old UCR to NIBRS data, drastically increasing the manual hours needed to comply with federal reporting requirements. Beyond reporting requirements, agencies using Peregrine can collate reports in minutes with high confidence in the accuracy of their information, using it to formulate crime prevention strategies and engage with public officials.  

A new era for public safety 

Law enforcement agencies will continue to leverage more sources of information from new and emerging technologies alongside legacy systems. Without a plan to effectively integrate those systems, law enforcement will never fully unlock the value of the data departments know they have – but can’t effectively use. 

Even the largest agencies, with dedicated researchers validating data sets, struggle with the deluge of data. Peregrine can ensure your department turns its data and systems into everyone’s biggest asset — from command staff and patrol officers to detectives and analysts, and everyone in between. 

Data-driven decision making made easy, only with Peregrine

About Morgan Hitzig

Morgan is currently leading operations and growth strategy for Peregrine, a technology platform that empowers public safety leaders to make data-driven decisions in real-time. Previously, Morgan served as Senior Director of Global Operations and Strategic Partnerships at Dataminr, a leading AI business that detects the earliest signals of high-impact events from within publicly available datasets.

A native New Yorker, Morgan was an analyst in the NYPD’s Counterterrorism Bureau where she worked on a broad range of terrorism related issues. Prior to working for the NYPD, Morgan held positions across a variety of industries, including in finance at Bank of America, in journalism at CNN, and at the Scowcroft Group, a strategic consulting firm run by former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft. Morgan is an Officer in the United States Navy Reserve.

Better, faster
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Better, faster
in 90 days