UC's digital crime map study draws jurors' nod in Asian research confab

June 11, 2012

A recent directive from the Cordillera police regional top brass to make the Geographic Information System (GIS) an integral part of police operations in Baguio City had been a key factor that earned honors for a research undertaken by the University of the Cordilleras (UC) on digital crime mapping.

The award for "Asia's Best Oral Research Presenter" was conferred upon UC research team leader for information technology Engr. Nathaniel Vincent Lubrica after a presentation of the research in the 2012 Asian Conference in Education held at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last May 28 to 30.

He also placed second in "Asia's Best Powerpoint Presentation," the tool used to deliver the research content to audience and participants representing 22 countries.

Engr. Lubrica said the jury was taken by the uniqueness of UC's applied research approach because of the tangible impact of the research on a larger community base.

UC's design of a digital crime map system for law enforcement using GIS technology enabled the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) to advance their crime prevention and detection systems from a previous "map and tack" system to an interactive spatial database method that allows for fingertip response to law enforcement matters.

Police Superintendent George Daculan Daskeo, chief of the Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division of the Cordillera Police Regional Office explains that crime mapping is a "time and space" data management that requires expanded analyses against human behavior and environmental factors.

He said, however, that before the introduction of GIS technology, "detectives were still analyzing crime patterns by positioning different colored pins on wall maps." Daskeo said this presents a challenge in terms of "establishing patterns, developing leads and predicting criminal trends."

UC's applied research project drew on law enforcement's need for an integrated time and space crime incident monitoring. The introduction of GIS technology by UC researchers not only allowed for predictive inputs from a self-contained device that is the computer, it also interconnected police sub-stations for paperless "all-points" bulletin.

Engr. Lubrica reports that the institutionalization of GIS crime mapping in the Baguio City Police Office has provided tangible results in the aspect of crime deterrence. "Areas with high incidence of theft, for instance, have been neutralized due to rapid deployment of field operatives." He explained that the predictive capability of the GIS system enabled police operations to strategically establish their presence in so-called crime "hot spots."

He said this is important considering that the present strength of the Baguio police is one officer for every 700 residents. Law enforcement standards say that the minimum police and population ratio should be 1:500. "Technology plays a big role in enhancing police capability considering their lack of manpower which is why UC through the university's Center for Research continues to provide technical assistance to the BCPO," Lubrica said.

Immediate benefits derived from the research earned the nod of jurors in the selection of Asia's best research presentation, Lubrica said. The execution of a Memorandum of Agreement between UC and the Cordillera Police Regional Office last March 23 fits into the awards criteria particularly "involvement" or "altruistic contributions" which leads into "the execution of Memorandum of Agreement or Understanding between organizations or institutional partnerships."

Research is one of the fields considered in the selection of UC as one of the "Philippines' Top 9 Universities" by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). Published on PhilStar.com last May 23, the report said the top universities "have demonstrated the highest degree or level of standard along the areas of instruction, research and extension."

Lubrica said the research framework is flexible enough to allow stakeholders' inputs for revision or improvement of the GIS utility model. He said "We recognize that the community and the partner institutions have as much stake in research as the university."

Lubrica said UC's continuing commitment to provide technical assistance to the BCPO in the digital crime map initiative may extend towards an expanded involvement of the university's social sciences departments as the system continues to evolve towards the psychology and sociology of crime analyses.

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