Police Chief Derrick Diggs has made it his mission to focus on data-driven police tactics and to make technology a big part of what the police department does.
“In the 21st-century, policing is about being data-driven and evidence-based,” Diggs said.
The new model of data-driven policing was meant to proactively predict where crime may occur by tracking where crimes have occurred frequently before.
Since the plan has been implemented, the City of Fort Myers has seen a 48.7% reduction in violent crime and a 9.8% reduction in property crime.
Previously, the police department had been using a computer-aided design system, a records management system and other systems to monitor crime, search records, respond to calls and predict future crimes. With the new Mark43 system, they will only need one.
The new software is designed to keep officers on the streets. The old software was designed to keep them behind a desk.
“For law enforcement right now, the software that you would see would feel very 70s, 80s, 90s,” said Matt Polega, Mark43 co-founder.
Polega says his company can cut paperwork by 80%. Police departments in Washington D.C., Boston, San Antonio and Seattle have already bought into the system.
“Information is collected if there’s a bike theft, a homicide, a sexual assault, a traffic crash, all that information is collected and then supplied to the chief and the command staff, the people that need to know so they can make decisions,” Polega said.
They now have access to new features as well, such as recent arrest tracking and advanced mapping capabilities.
“Data-driven technology. That’s the future,” Diggs said.
The Mark43 system is cloud-based and is used by over 100 local law enforcement agencies.
Fort Myers police hope the new technology will help them in their goal of “swiftly eradicating crime in the City of Fort Myers.”
Diggs says it’s about being out in the community. “The bottom line is policing is about those officers wearing these uniforms, that are out in the streets 24/7, working their neighborhoods [and] getting to know the community know their business folks and know their beat.”