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Smart mapping technology is the future of crime fighting, says expert

By Clarice Africa 03 Mar 2015

A visiting international expert has today advised the region’s senior public safety officials on how smart mapping technology can help shape the future of ASEAN crime fighting through information-led decision-making.

Carl Walter, an international expert on law enforcement and intelligence from global geospatial giant Esri, said smart mapping technology – also known as Geographic Information System (GIS) – is being used by many of the world’s leading public safety and national security agencies as a critical crime-fighting tool.

Mr Walter, who is in Singapore for the Global Security Asia conference and meeting with public safety agencies and officials, noted that while many of the region’s public safety agencies already use the technology, it still held untapped potential for strengthening local security.

“Whether it’s devastating natural disasters, terror threats, kidnappings or vehicle theft – the mission of public safety is prevention and it is important for decision-makers to leverage advanced technologies such as GIS to develop smarter approaches to public safety,” said Mr Walter.

GIS a proven technology that already underpins the planning and development of many of the world’s emerging smart cities – including Singapore – and it continuously assists in improving the efficiency, effectiveness and impact of services and programs under health, public safety, and national security among others.”

GIS technology integrates and analyses data from multiple business systems to create a dynamic and interactive map-based view of information.

“It enables law enforcement agencies to quickly identify communities of interest, crime hotspots, investigate crime patterns, uncover trends, and respond to emergency situations in the most efficient way possible,” said Mr Walter.

“Furthermore, it provides agencies with a collaborative platform that enables them to break down silos and work together by sharing authoritative actionable information across the organisation anytime, anywhere.”

According to Mr Walter, leading law enforcement agencies – such as the Boston Police Department, Los Angeles Police Department, US Department of Homeland Security, and major police forces in the region – are already reaping the benefits of having smart mapping capabilities.

“They’ve quickly moved on from putting pins on a paper wall map to using a fully integrated smart map that is made accessible to all relevant stakeholders – from tactical and criminal intelligence units to first responders and the neighbourhood police up through national level law enforcement and intelligence agencies,” he said.

“Having such capability in place enables the entire police force to leverage the city’s connected infrastructure – such as CCTVs and sensors – to orchestrate their efforts and determine how best they can respond to an incident, strategically mobilise their resources, and if possible, prevent untoward incidents from happening.

“By using this technology to take a smarter approach to public safety and security, not only will agencies be able to make significant progress in reducing crime, they’ll also provide communities with a greater sense of safety, security, and quality of life,” Mr Walter concluded.

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