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New software to help Rockdale predict, fight crime

Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office to contract with PublicEngines for new software

Sheriff Eric Levett

Sheriff Eric Levett

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Chief Deputy Scott Freeman

CONYERS — The Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office is implementing new crime-fighting software designed to help predict where crime will occur.

CommandCentral Predictive is part of a suite of software programs the Sheriff’s Office will purchase, including CrimeReports, which lets citizens view local crime data in near-real time; TipSoft, an anonymous tip application; and CityConnect, which provides both the crime map and tip submission features via mobile device.

“Our goal at the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office is to continually be more effective at making our county safer,” said Sheriff Eric Levett in an email. “However, we live under constant budget constraints. CommandCentral Predictive and the other software we are implementing will allow us to do our jobs more effectively and will keep the public informed at a level that has never before been available to Rockdale residents.”

The software programs will be purchased from PublicEngines under a three-year contract with approximately $78,000 in forfeited funds. The purchase was approved by the Board of Commissioners last week. At that time, Chief Deputy Scott Freeman told the board that RCSO research had shown that the use of CommandCentral Predictive “had helped law enforcement agencies drop crime tremendously.”

According to the RCSO, CommandCentral Predictive combines predictive analytics with tactical information on local crimes to help counter the criminal element. CommandCentral Predictive creates daily crime forecasts of potential high-crime areas that are accessible by deputies who will use the daily reports to prioritize areas for patrol. Freeman told commissioners that the RCSO will be the first sheriff’s office in the state to deploy predictive policing software to anticipate and prevent crime.

Freeman said the software will operate on the RCSO’s current mobile data systems in deputies’ cars and no new equipment or devices will need to be purchased.

“This is cutting-edge technology that is going to help us deploy deputies to the locations within the county with the highest probability of crime,” said Freeman in a press release. “Unlike traditional crime analysis and crime mapping, predictive policing is a huge leap forward in every aspect. This is the most advanced crime-fighting technology available to law enforcement agencies today, and we are proud to be the first sheriff’s office in the state to bring this level of technology to our citizens.”

Freeman stressed that CommandCentral Predictive is no replacement for well-trained deputies on the road.

“Instead, it is going to allow our deputies to have the critical knowledge and information to apply their law enforcement skills in the right place at the right time to reduce crime,” Freeman said. “While there should be no illusion that this is going to stop crime as we know it, it is going to help us determine where crime will take place so that we can focus our resources in those areas.”

RCSO is also implementing software to help citizens stay informed and make it easier for them to communicate with the sheriff’s office. CrimeReports will let citizens view local crime data for Rockdale, and TipSoft will provide a way for them to submit anonymous tips via the Web or their mobile phone. In addition, Rockdale residents will have access to crime information and be able to submit tips on crimes through a mobile application called CityConnect, which provides both the crime map and tip submission features on any iPhone or Android.

“Our goal is to protect our citizens by providing the most professional law enforcement service we can,” said Levett. “The use of CrimeReports and TipSoft is one more way we are able to do that through keeping our citizens informed and enlisting them in keeping our county safe.”

Freeman said the RCSO is working now on a timeline to get the new software programs up and running.

“We want to make sure this is implemented correctly, and we want to get it up and running as soon as possible. At present, we expect to have it fully deployed by the end of the year, if not sooner,” he said.

PublicEngines’ products are used by more than 2,500 agencies and governments, according to the RCSO. Its website, CrimeReports.com, and CrimeReports mobile application are used by millions of individuals worldwide to find local crime information.