Cops, collection agencies turn to data analytics

Some state and local agencies are turning to business analytics software to help fight crime and collect taxes and other payments.

Some cash-strapped state and local government agencies are seizing on business intelligence software for data analytics as a way to do more with less.

Agencies are increasing their use of these automated tools to cull through and analyze data for a variety of purposes, but two of the more prominent are law enforcement and revenue collection, as each is a primary responsibility for state and local governments.

Chris Dixon, manager of state and local industry analysis for market research firm Input, said law enforcement officials were using the technology to make policing efforts more intelligent even before the economic crisis. “On the law enforcement side I think that we are seeing a genuine transformational change in the nature of how policing is orchestrated at the strategic level within a community,” he said.


Related coverage:

Tax evaders beware: NY state has an app for that


Meanwhile, state and local governments' use of analytics tools to look for fraud and abuse related to payment and benefits programs appears to be more directly driven by the economic crisis. “Right now it looks like more of cyclically-driven interest because of the desperation of the budget offices to get a grip on things,” he said.

Dixon estimates the annual state and local government market for such products to be about $750 million.

Next: To catch a thief

Roanoke Valley in Virginia includes several police jurisdictions: the cities of Roanoke and Salem, the county of Roanoke, and the town of Vinton. The region's total population is about 213,000. Criminals move in and out of the different cities and traditionally it’s been a challenge for police to coordinate their law enforcement efforts.

"We were forever calling each other asking questions: ‘Do you know anything about such and so? Or do you have any burglaries with this kind of" modus operandi, said Capt. Greg Staples from the Roanoke City Police Department.

If an officer stopped somebody and wanted to check if that person was wanted in the area, an officer would have to make separate phone calls to each of the other three agencies to check, Staples recalled.

Staples said those difficulties spurred the region to create the Roanoke Area Criminal Justice Information Network (RACJIN), a multi-jurisdictional computer network that links law enforcement agencies in the region. Even though the RACJIN only recently came online, Staples said officials are already seeing the benefits.

“Immediately we not only arrested a drug dealer we might not otherwise have, but we did  very quickly because the RACJIN told us who he was,” Staples, who is the law enforcement project manager for the RACJIN system, said. Being able to search all four agencies' computer-aided dispatch data "makes the number of records we can search just exponentially higher,” he said.

The RACJIN uses software from Memex, Inc., a SAS company, to allow users to search the departments’ record management system as well as their computer-aided dispatch systems, perform link analysis and make use of geographic information system mapping.

The Roanoke area isn’t alone in seeing the value in using data analytics, said Neil Schlisserman, vice president of Americas for Memex. “Last year within the U.S., our business grew roughly 70 percent from 2008 over into 2009, and this year we are again expecting that we will be growing,” Schlisserman said.

Next: Tax cheats beware

Few entities have been hit harder by the economic crisis than city and county governments, and the rough economic times have raised the stakes for collecting money owed by tax cheats.

“You’ve got to remember, if your neighbor is cheating, you’re paying more and that money could add up to a school teacher or keeping a park open an extra day or [paying] a firefighter,” said Ron Cacciatore, director of professional standards and compliance with the Broward County, Fla.’s property appraiser’s office.

Cacciatore recently participated in a pilot program with a new LexisNexis product that’s designed to help state and local governments track down people who are improperly taking advantage of tax exemptions that homeowners can get from states for their primary residence. The programs are often called homestead exemptions. There are also exemptions for the elderly.

Some people cheat the system by claiming an exemption for a home that isn’t their primary residence or not informing authorities about a death. Such cheaters cost states and localities millions of dollars, but catching them can involve a difficult, laborious process. Investigators need to cull through returned mail, utility bills and death records.

Andy Bucholz, director of tax and revenue market planning for LexisNexis’ government group, said he wanted to create a tool to use a computer program to help jurisdictions such as Broward County identify “red flags” among its exemption claims so it could more readily conduct audits with limited staff.

Bucholz said he worked with Cacciatore and his team to test the new tool on 8,900 homestead exemption records for Hallandale Beach, Fla. According to Cacciatore’s office, the pilot found more than $1.2 million in back taxes and 43 death cases.

Bucholz said the program, which has been piloted in other jurisdictions as well, is consistently identifying 5 percent of exemption lists as fraudulent because the claimant has illegally claimed more than one homestead exemption or didn’t report a death.

There could be a lot of money in this for jurisdictions such as Broward County. Cacciatore points out that in Florida law provides for big fines in these cases: 50 percent penalties and 15 percent interest rates.

“The automated program really worked out well,” Cacciatore said of the pilot. “It makes it easier when you target a city like that instead of waiting for hotline callers.”









X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.