In wake of Paris, Fresno P.D. rolls out big data to fight crime

In the wake of Paris attacks, Fresno Police roll out a big data system to fight crime in the city.


The Real Time Crime Center is Dyer’s answer to the new reality of limited staffing, the democratization of computing power/technology and the ever-shifting complexity of an increasingly pluralist society.


That’s what Dyer and Sgt. Steve Casto (who is assigned to the Center) wanted to talk about on Nov. 5.

“Our officers, as you know, get dispatched to crimes in progress and life-threatening calls,” Dyer said. “Hundreds of them a day. In fact, we receive about 1,200 9-1-1 calls a day in the city of Fresno.”

And, Dyer added, “often these officers are going into areas or locations with limited information. They are expected to make some very quick decisions with limited information regarding these calls.”

The Real Time Crime Center tries to “provide officers with additional information” and do so almost instantaneously, Dyer said.

The Center (which deals only with high-priority calls) has access to gunshot-spotting technology in selected high-crime neighborhoods. Staff can review the department’s 180 strategically placed video cameras plus the city’s 143 traffic cameras. If things get really serious (a gunman on site, for example), staff can tap into Fresno Unified School District’s 800-plus cameras.

There’s a lot more to Real Time Crime Center, Dyer said. The cost of everything is about $600,000, all of it raised through the police chief’s foundation, he said.

Dyer and Casto then tackled the Beware system.

Beware is owned and operated by a Colorado-based company called Intrado. Intrado is a subsidiary of a publicly traded telecommunications company headquartered in Omaha, Neb.

Intrado on its Website needs only 20 words for its mission statement: “To lead our industry in the development and delivery of systems and services that save lives and transform emergency communications.”

The Website says Beware “”searches, sorts and scores billions of publically-available commercial records in a matter of seconds – alerting responders to potentially dangerous situations while en route to, or at the location of, a 9-1-1 request for assistance.”

Casto had just begun discussing the color-coded threat levels when Baines said, “Let me jump in real quick. How does a person get to red?”

That’s when civil liberties enter the fray.

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