In order to take an aggressive, proactive approach to combating gang violence, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department has purchased crime-predicting software, Palantir Law Enforcement, and has hired a string of officers focusing on intelligence gathering.
Installed in April 2012, the software is currently being used by the department’s anti-gang Impact Division to identify trends and crime "hot spots." Officers can conduct geo-searches around locations of interest and view relevant arrest data, calls for service, and notes and photos from previous investigations. Command staff can also see real-time calls for service and Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) data on a map and view aggregate real-time statistics, charts and graphs on a web page.
The impetus to the software purchase was an $11.3 million grant from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Strategies received by the department in September 2011. In response to the grant, the sheriff’s department hired 25 Impact Division officers dedicated to combating gang and youth violence—several working in an intelligence capacity.
The department purchased the software after conducting a cost-benefit analysis and determining Palantir to be cost-effective with cutting-edge data collection capabilities to aid in intelligence-led policing, according to Deputy Officer Jason Ramos. Grant funds were not used to purchase the product.
According to Ramos, Palantir has thus far been successful with data compilation, though it is too early to quantify its effectiveness. The software was purchased for five years.
"We hope that we can eventually use it department-wide," Ramos said. "It synthesizes data in minutes that might otherwise take days or weeks."
Palantir—a software company headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif.—offers a suite of software applications for interactive data analysis and synthesis. Its products are primarily used by the military, defense, intelligence, law enforcement and financial communities. It was established in 2004.
For more information about Palantir Law Enforcement, visit www.palantir.com. More information on the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department Impact Division is at www.sacsheriff.com.