In the third post of our series about how people everywhere can use data and tools to make the world a better place, we shared with you ways in which the consumerization of data helps us to live better.
Today, we’re going to focus on different ways that organizations in the public sector are using data and tools to help make our communities safer to live in.
The Boston Globe posted an article noting how serious crime has dipped to its lowest levels in 50 years in the city of Cambridge, Mass. Police are crediting their increased reliance on statistical data to identify crime trends and to predict future misdeeds.
“In the old days, we used to randomly patrol neighborhoods,” says Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert C. Haas in the Boston Globe article. “Now, it’s very much directed. It’s methodical . . . it’s more about preventing future victimization.”
Members of the police department have been able to use statistical analysis tools to help identify an uptick in a particular type of crime in a specific neighborhood or during a certain time of day. For example, if officers notice a rash of pickpocket incidents, data analysis can help them determine the most common timeframe for such occurrences (e.g. between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. in a particular area) and then assign larger patrols to that area.
Meanwhile, other US federal agencies are also upping their uses of data and analytics to help identify ways to improve efficiencies in the delivery of healthcare to citizens. For instance, several federal offices are conducting ongoing evidence-based analysis of current healthcare models and opportunities for exploring reforms, according to a recent article in Government Executive.
For its part, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute conducts research to find the best available evidence to help both patients and healthcare providers make informed decisions about treatment options. Meanwhile, the National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council is taking a comprehensive approach to patient health by analyzing a full range of factors that can influence health, from housing and food to education and transportation.
Federal efforts to improve societal wellness don’t stop there. As Congress continues to explore ways to improve elementary and secondary education, some lawmakers have called for an increase in data collection and analysis of performance evaluation models in specific school districts.
There’s continued debate over the key challenges that need to be addressed in the education system. But there has been agreement, at least among some lawmakers, that the problem doesn’t lie with the amount of education spending being invested “but rather the failure to maximize the effectiveness of those dollars,” according to the Government Executive article. The idea is that student test data that’s gathered over the course of each pupil’s K-12 education can help inform educators about what methods are working in the classrooms and what needs to be fixed.
Read how Nordisk Trygghetscentral employs TIBCO Spotfire to dramatically reduce crime incidence for its Stockholm business clients.