New technology in Springfield will soon help determine where officers patrol

SPRINGFIELD, MO. The city council on Monday approved a grant for the Springfield Police Department (SPD) to purchase software called Risk Terrain Modeling (RMT).

The Federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant is $ 178,469. 60 percent of the grant goes to the city, 40 percent to the district. SPD plans to use its portion of the money to buy RMT and upgrade the technology in its Mobile Community Resource Vehicles and Surveillance Cars.

“Chief Williams regularly takes many classes,” said Major Stacey Parton. “This happened to be one of those occasions that he was there and happened to speak to vendors and providers of these types of programs.”

RTM helps predict prime locations for a specific criminal activity.

“When you see a playground, children are drawn to a playground because there is play equipment and it is in a nice area that is conducive to play and play,” Parton said. “If you apply the same thought process to a criminal element, you will also be more associated with crime.”

The SPD has a crime scene map that people can access, but they believe this software is another way of producing that information.

“We have a very active crime analysis unit here that is looking for crime trends, compiling that information and relaying it to our officers and officials in the area,” Parton said.

The aim is to prevent crime. The department plans to use the reports from the software to determine where to send the officers.

“If we don’t have the staff and can better deploy our resources in areas where we spot criminal trends, maybe we can not only prevent crime, we can be there to track it down.”

The SPD is struggling with a shortage of officers. Queen City Watchdog, a local crime watchdog group, wants the department to focus on hiring more officers

“I think they should probably focus on recruiting,” said President Justin Michael Hasty. “Me [RTM is] It is a huge waste of time to say that we have this fancy software or fancy data when it is not necessary. “

The SPD has increased wages and requirements for officers in order to attract more applicants. But there are more officials who can help

“We have the police representatives, so even in times of staff shortage, we fill all of these positions,” Parton said. “These officers are not involved in the call-to-call, in a police car that drives to the next duty, these officers can meet with neighborhood associations, community groups and talk about crime prevention.”

Hasty suggests taking care of the neighbors, which the SPD also recommends.

“When criminals know a neighborhood is being laundered and the community is tight, they tend to avoid those areas,” said Hasty.

“When someone takes just a few minutes to look and take a picture, take a video, or whatever it is that makes the person think twice about committing a crime and that goes, ideally, that’s what we want, ”said Parton.

SPD is also using the grant money to upgrade some features in its community mobile resource vehicles and surveillance vehicles.

“We’re updating all of the equipment we have inside [Mobile Community Resource Vehicle] because it’s 2003 stuff, ”Parton said. “There are television monitors from the early 2000s. It actually has VHS devices in it. The surveillance vehicles we use are in good condition, only the technology needs to be improved. “

The RTM software costs about $ 20,000.