Santa Cruz Tech Beat

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Geolitica: a new name, a new focus

(Source: Geolitica blog)

March 4, 2021 — Santa Cruz, CA

We’re pleased to announce that as of today we are changing our name from PredPol to Geolitica. This new name – a mashup of “geographical analytics” – better represents the direction our company has taken over the last few years.

Our original name of PredPol was a mashup of “predictive policing,” and indeed we helped popularize and define that concept when we launched the company in 2012. The idea was that by analyzing historical data we could help better position patrol officers to prevent crime before it occurs. But that phrase has broadened to include activities – such as facial recognition or “predicting” that certain individuals will commit crimes – with which we are not aligned; even the use of the word “predictive” itself does not accurately describe our business.

Rather than predicting, we were conducting risk assessments, using what-where-when historical crime data to identify the highest-risk locations of specified crimes by time of day and day of week. Because our model accounted for things like time of day and day of week, it was far more accurate than the heatmap method used by many police departments, in which they just mapped out all the crimes over some defined period and patrolled the places where the cluster of dots was the densest.

However, many of our agencies rightfully wanted additional control over where they sent their officers. Their crime analysts had areas that intel suggested needed additional patrol. Other events, like concerts or sporting events, required officers to patrol in areas that wouldn’t appear on a crime heatmap. Accordingly, we added our custom boxes feature, which allowed command staff and analysts to set their own patrol boxes. Soon we had customers who had turned off our “predictions” entirely and were setting their own patrol areas. They then used our platform to communicate daily missions and patrol guidance to officers, and to create management reports for crime analysts and command staff.

Sometimes an answer is right in front of you but it takes a while to recognize it. Our customers helped us realize that our greatest value was not on the “predictive” side of the business but on the accountability and transparency side. Geolitica is really about patrol operations management. We improve transparency between your department and your community. We provide accountability for your officers. And we make your department more effective at keeping your community safe with the resources you have.

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Originally published here: https://geolitica.com/blog/geolitica-a-new-name-a-new-focus/

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