Federal funding boosts “pre-crime” fighting in Elgin
By Mike Danahey email@example.com September 14, 2012 1:22PM
Updated: October 17, 2012 6:27AM
ELGIN — Due in large part to federal funding sources, Elgin police soon will be getting new computer software.
The city council has moved forward approving an agreement with the city of Aurora, Kane County and the Department of Justice for a technology grant of $20,115.
The money which will be used by police comes from a 2011 Department of Justice Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program Local Solicitation. It will be used to help purchase a document management system called Laserfiche, and a predictive analytical software system called PredPol.
PredPol uses mathematical formulas and crime data to predict where more crime is most likely to happen, then plots that on a map.
Supporting material for Wednesday’s city council meeting stated, “What makes this so different is it provides the map user with square areas that are 500 feet by 500 feet, and officers are then encouraged to patrol those area when not responding to calls for service.”
According to published reports, police in Santa Cruz, Calif., have seen a 19 percent reduction in burglaries since using PredPol software, and Los Angeles police have seen a 25 percent reduction.
“PredPol is seeking a Midwest flagship agency and has agreed to provide their software to the city of Elgin at the highly reduced cost of $15,000 for one year,” said city Management Analyst Aaron Cosentino. “The typical cost is around $60,000.” According to the city, Laserfiche “streamlines the scanning process, making it very simple for members of the police department to share and access data quickly. There is also a Web-based component that enables the department to share information with the public and states attorney’s office. This will provide an efficient way to share redacted reports with the media and will assist with satisfying the time constraints that the police department faces in reference to the Freedom of Information Act requests. Most importantly, Laserfiche will facilitate the communication with other city departments more effectively.”