By Frank Adderley, FLPD
Crime across the great state of Florida is down. In fact, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) recently reported that the Sunshine State is enjoying its lowest crime rate in 42 years.
While I believe the FDLE numbers are a bit conservative, the report also noted that Fort Lauderdale, where I am Chief of Police, saw a two-percent reduction in crime compared to this time last year.
Fort Lauderdale is on the right track thanks to the tremendous efforts of our officers and the continued support of our elected officials and the community. For instance, we saw a dramatic reduction in forcible sex offenses in 2012, down 47 percent compared to 2011, and a significant drop in vandalism, down by almost 9 percent. Additionally, over the course of the last five years, we’ve enjoyed a 14 percent reduction in arrests.
Fighting crime remains our top priority as we work to ensure the safety and protection of our citizens and preserve our outstanding quality of life. But these days, we’re much smarter about the entire process and leverage new tools to combat and help lower crime rates, namely, Big Data and analytics.
By analyzing a variety of complex sources of Big Data including 911 call records, crime records, specials events information, public transportation routes and code enforcement and building permit activity, for example, we have a much deeper understanding of what is happening in our city and what additional steps we should take to deter crime.
With such tools and processes, our officers are learning how to spot trends and to anticipate where crimes may occur and ensure the right resources are in the right places, to make Fort Lauderdale safer. Our hope is to be viewed as a role model of sorts for other communities through our use of innovative police operations and planning.
Toward this end, we’re proud that we have partnered with IBM to create a first-of-a-kind research and development project. Our goal is to develop solutions to capitalize on new and advanced data and analytics tools that will assist us in optimizing our resources. Our first step will be to focus on increasing our ability to deter crime. Specifically, we will utilize the new capabilities to better identify where to deploy our resources for maximum impact.
Today, partnerships between governments and business are more important than ever. They enable each to tap into diverse skill sets and expertise in an effort to align strategies, identify efficiencies, maximize resources, and enhance service delivery.
We are excited about this groundbreaking project with IBM, and are confident that it will help us create a safer city for our residents and visitors.