As I sat at my Nineteen Seventies steel-style desk preserving a now cold cup of unsweetened inexperienced tea, I leaned lower back in my chair and mumbled, “Data, statistics, everywhere, however now not a drop to drink.” I turned into surrounded with the aid of mountains of paper printouts, two pc monitors running three exclusive statistics-control programs, and a frosted glass whiteboard blanketed in diagrams, numbers and the occasional sticky observe. I become there, such as you, hopelessly trying to make sense of the information sets provided through antiquated police facts structures.

The quote is really from Samuel Taylor 1834 poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” as he reflected his sad state of affairs of being a cursed captain, demise of thirst, stuck in an ocean of undrinkable water: “Water, water, anywhere, and nor a drop to drink.” But I felt the equal, stuck inside the center of an ocean of facts surrounded via undrinkable (unusable) information.


For a little over a decade, police organizations were hyperactively gathering statistics like youngsters combating for candy from a pinata. Agencies focused at the volume of statistics accrued but were much less worried about the relevancy of that facts. Unfortunately, for plenty businesses this once small pool of statistics has grown right into a massive ocean of undrinkable statistics.

Many departments are downloading statistics from CAD dispatch systems, uploading statistics from police officer’s automobile-hooked up computer systems, and sending records wirelessly the use of e-citation machines, all without understanding why and how the records is amassed.

Understanding the “why” in the back of information series will help inspire how the statistics is amassed. The intention ought to never be to acquire random records simply to add to the pool of formerly amassed facts – random collections of facts will lead to an ocean of unusable statistics like what we have now. The purpose ought to always be to accumulate statistics for a specific cause: crime-preventing.

Once the information is collected with a cause, it’s miles now the activity of the crime analysts and detectives to transform that statistics into statistics, then turn that information into perception.


Police agencies need extra relevant records and much less rubbish that analysts and detectives can fast convert into usable facts. My undergrad fitness professor informed me, “Garbage in equals rubbish out,” and the equal idea applies to information collection: Luckily, correcting beside the point statistics series habits is as clean as 1,2,3. (I don’t just like the word “bad facts” …the fact is there’s a TON of data available…regulation enforcement wishes smart equipment to help deliver the right/relevant facts.

1. Numbers: Numbers pose an exciting hassle for statistics collectors due to the fact they may be easily transposed. The numbers on VINs, license plates, serial numbers and addresses must be proven earlier than recording it into any software.

2. Individuals: Accurate facts collection on human beings also can pose a trouble. Many people proportion the identical first and remaining call so amassing distinguishing traits is simply as vital as names. In Arizona, for instance, forty three human beings percentage my first and remaining call; four share the identical first, center and ultimate call; and 1 is a released violent felon from every other nation. Pay near attention to non-public identifying facts (PPI) including whole criminal name, correct social protection variety, visible tattoos and tattoo place, and race.

3. Associates and buddies: Document buddies and pals and I promise your analyst will thanks later! Always ask the passengers of traffic stops and pals of your suspect for his or her PII, too. Just don’t forget in maximum states, passengers of traffic stops do no longer have to talk with you except you’ve got a violation on that character, however at the least you can strive.

The more correct the statistics, the easier it’ll be to turn that data into insight.


The next step is turning statistics into perception. Data units by myself are vain. Data literacy – the capacity to derive meaningful information from records – but, is priceless. The fastest way to grow to be information-literate is via the use of software program designed to help interpret that facts.

Software can without problems and efficiently sort through big information units, hyperlink pals and friends, and paint the larger image. Combine records management software with a skilled analyst, investigator, or officer, and you have your recipe for crime-fighting fulfillment!

Big information desires to be made small to be effective. The satisfactory manner to begin to shrink statistics is through knowledge the why in the back of the gathering, recording correct facts and the usage of analyzing software program to show facts into perception so that you are not left floating in an ocean of undrinkable facts mumbling to your self, “Data, data anywhere but no longer a drop to drink!”

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