Covenant seeks expansion of digital crime map system to police operations

April 15, 2012

The commitment to strengthen law enforcement through Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology has gained further momentum through the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to expand the use of the technology to police macro units.

The undertaking is between the University of the Cordilleras (UC) and Police Regional Office-Cordillera (PRO-COR) entered into last March 23 at the UC Training Center.

From a purely research-based undertaking introduced in 2010, the project's scope has broadened to the system's application in the Baguio City Police Office's (BCPO) operations.

"Some modest gains have been realized particularly in representing offense patterns in the city enabling the police to respond by deploying force multipliers in areas where the GIS system shows a high rate of crime," says Engr. Nathaniel Lubrica, member of the UC research team.

The GIS system is an integrated system of analyzing geographical data as a tool for decision-making. In early 2011, the UC Center for Research through UC's colleges of Information Technology and Computer Sciences, and Criminal Justice Education have introduced their findings on "GIS-based crime mapping for enhanced crime prevention, police database system" to the BCPO.

Since then, trainings have been conducted among police personnel on GIS operations even as automated stations have been integrated in the police information system adopting actual use of the technology. Police Chief Superintendent Benjamin C. Magalong, PRO-COR Regional Director said on March 23 that the bigger challenge in GIS application is "how to keep it moving."

Engr. Lubrica said he is pleased with the response of police personnel to technology. "They were hesitant to operate a mouse at first, but when they saw the benefits of GIS technology, they now realize this is a necessary tool in law enforcement and crime prevention."

Police City Director Senior Superintendent David Q. Lacdan said the expansion of BCPO's GIS system particularly in the acquisition of more equipment is included in their unit's funding alignment program.Engr. Lubrica's assessment of the progress of the program shows that field units need to bolster their capacity for "point mapping" using Global Positioning System (GPS) units. He said the equipment will establish precise GIS data that will serve the operations aspect of law enforcement as well as intelligence and investigation.

"The forensic dimension of computerization which is predictive algorithm, is based on the strength and adequacy of data inputs which is attained through tools that provide real-world coordinates," Engr. Lubrica explains. "Through this we can build digital maps that will provide an understanding of a particular phenomenon," he said.

Director Magalong said the persistence of the UC research team at ensuring that the GIS concept is realized resulted in a shift from old command paradigms that generally frown on the use of technology in law enforcement to the present progressive approach. "The bottomline is that the police leadership should be IT proficient especially at the command level," he said.

He explained that technological foundations established by UC through the GIS crime map system should be "rolled out through the application of more technology so that field operatives will have fingertip access to data and intelligence."

The UC's administration of skills training to BCPO personnel have gone from "generic to outcomes-based," Engr. Lubrica reports. He said analyses of actual data through GIS is being undertaken to provide real-time solutions to operational and tactical problems.

UC's Vice President for Research and Special Projects Dr. Ruben C. Umaly said aside from law enforcement, UC also applies GIS research in the disciplines of parasitology and environmental science.

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