September 6, 2020
by: Staff Report
PASCO COUNTY, Fla. – The rate at which new technology develops, allows us to do more in cyberspace than ever thought possible. From texting with a family member from afar, video chatting with a friend, holding a live press conference, or watching a live feed from a foreign land; the rate at which data exchange happens and stored semantically, is rapid and in real-time.
Today’s law enforcement agencies, including Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, use data to assist in pinpointing locations where crime is likely to occur and to even help prevent crime from happening.
Is this like a sci-fi movie? No, its not.
When it comes to data-driven law enforcement, two approaches are on the forefront; intelligence-led policing and predictive policing. While these approaches are not mutually exclusive, there is a difference.
Predictive policing uses computers to analyze the big data regarding crimes in a geographical area in an attempt to anticipate where and when a crime will occur in the near future. While it does not identify who will commit the crime, like in the movies, it does pinpoint hot spots to help law enforcement anticipate the approximate time of day and area of town where police might anticipate another crime. With this information, police can be placed more strategically to either stop crime in progress or even better, prevent a crime from taking place. Sometimes just with their presence.
Intelligence-led policing, on the other hand, attempts to identify potential victims and potential repeat offenders, then work in partnership with the community to provide offenders with an opportunity to change their behavior before being arrested for a more severe crime.
The Intelligence-Led Policing philosophy was implemented in the Pasco Sheriff’s Office in 2011, with the first agency in the area to use this philosophy being the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, which implemented this philosophy and technology in 2009.
The algorithm is based on the premise that 6% of individuals commit 60% of the crime and that, by focusing on that 6%, a large reduction in crime can be seen across the board.
“ILP is a philosophy that is blind to a person’s race, gender, creed, sexual orientation, or any other aspect of an individual’s life. The only consideration for ILP is an individual’s criminal history and actions along with their criminal associates,” said Sheriff Chris Nocco.
This works by having the entire criminal history of an individual entered into a computer system that calculates a score for an individual, this score factors in the severity of the crime (degree of felony or misdemeanor) and the length of time since the criminal activity occurred (the more recent the criminal activity, the more heavily it is weighted). This algorithm is always under constant review to make sure that it is adequately impacting the crime environment in Pasco County.
The algorithm provides a list of individuals, by score, which is then sent to the analysts in each of our three geographic districts who then analyze the individuals and their crimes, compared with crime trends in each district, to create a list of 100 individuals who become the “prolific offenders” for each quarter. This process is repeated quarterly. The 100 individuals are those who have a direct, negative impact on the crime environment in each district and, again, have a criminal history and a score based solely on that criminal history, nothing else.
We spoke to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd about technology in law enforcement and specifically ILP technology.
“This is 2020. Professional law enforcement agencies use technology to protect and keep their communities safe, and would be derelict in their duties if they didn’t,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, “Here is a thought for prolific criminals. Behave. Quit terrorizing the community with criminal conduct and you won’t have to worry about investigations and arrest.”
ILP also analyzes relationships of known offenders, gang members, and others that come into a law enforcement agency, through a negative contact, to assist with solving crime in a community.
In Hillsborough County, Sheriff Chad Chronister said, “The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office does not have software that performs predictions on future crimes or specific persons, however, as crime patterns or geographic hot spots are identified, our detectives use that information to apprehend offenders, prevent crimes from occurring, and ultimately, keep our neighborhoods safe. By embracing a number of community-oriented policing techniques, including ILP, we have been able to successfully stop criminal groups and prolific offenders from repeatedly victimizing our communities.”
Looking at the data provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, ‘Total Crime Rate’ in Pasco County, from 2018 to 2019, has declined 9% in just that one year.
Sheriff Nocco added, “As evidenced by the 74.4% reduction in residential burglaries since we first implemented the ILP philosophy. This reduction has a direct, positive impact on the lives of the citizens of Pasco County. There is a direct correlation between our ability to keep our community safe and families and economic opportunities expanding in Pasco County.”
“I am very proud of the hard work of our members and the partnership with our community that has led to the Pasco Sheriff’s Office having among the highest rate of solving crimes,” said Sheriff Nocco.
“This focus has lead the Pasco Sheriff’s Office to have the highest closure rate of crime in the Tampa Bay area meaning, essentially, that the Pasco Sheriff’s Office is solving more crime than surrounding jurisdictions,” said Chase Daniels, Assistant Executive Director of Pasco Sheriff’s Office.
We have included the complete year over year FDLE report for Pasco County crime statistics below.