Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Police launches new crime-tracking software for officers

TAMPA — The bashed A/C window unit was the first sign that something was amiss in the locked, empty office on Kennedy Boulevard. • Property manager Gerard Scalzo walked inside to discover a ransacked room. Some cash, a set of keys and audio-visual equipment were gone. • Scalzo called police. They arrived and began investigating. • That afternoon, officers nabbed the suspect.

"I didn't think it would happen that fast," Scalzo said.

Tampa police attributed the speedy arrest to SAFECOP, a new software system that allows them to track crime patterns and communicate faster while on the road.

"There frankly will be no place where any criminal will be able to hide from law enforcement," said Chief Jane Castor during a news conference Friday morning.

SAFECOP lets officers view city maps with color-coded dots that show reported property crimes and the locations where they were committed.

Before the program was installed, officers relied on an analyst to compile the information every week.

"How can you get that information out to the officers in real time? That's how SAFECOP came in," Castor said. "All of that information is at the officer's fingertips."

The software also includes a "blog" feature that lets officers keep better track of case updates, helping them in "avoiding redundancies" in their investigations, said Assistant Chief John Bennett.

Police can now also send out alerts — such as a suspect's description — within seconds. Before, it took hours, sometimes even days, to send alerts out to officers on patrol.

That's where the program worked during the Sept. 5 burglary at the Kennedy Boulevard office. Officers took a photograph of the suspect captured in surveillance video and sent it out to the department. Hours later, they found and arrested the burglar.

Lanny Ray Marler, 33, faces burglary and petty theft charges. He remained at the Hillsborough County jail Friday afternoon in lieu of $2,500 bail.

Police launched SAFECOP, developed by the company NC4, during the Republican National Convention. Funded by a security grant received for the convention, it cost $400,000.

Castor said the software helped cut crime citywide by 26 percent during the RNC with a total of 257 offenses. During the same time period last year, 349 offenses were reported.

Fewer people also were booked into the jail, but the lack of warrant roundups may also have been a contributor.

Officials said SAFECOP will become available to the nine nearby counties, including Pinellas and Pasco, involved in the Urban Areas Security Initiative next year. The program was created by the Department of Homeland Security after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee said his agency won't look into trying SAFECOP because deputies already use a similar system.

In Tampa, more than 700 officers are utilizing the program, and the rest will receive training within the next two weeks.

"This will revolutionize the way we do policing," Castor said.

Staff writer Jessica Vander Velde contributed to this report. Laura C. Morel can be reached at (727)893-8713 or lmorel@tampabay.com.

Tampa Police launches new crime-tracking software for officers 09/07/12 [Last modified: Friday, September 7, 2012 11:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Roberto Aguayo, Jonathan Drouin, Tim Beckham are coming for revenge

    Bucs

    Forget the Three Tenors.

    Make it the Three Terrors.

    The 2017 Unfulfilled Expectations Tour is about to hit Tampa Bay.

    From left, former Bucs kicker Roberto Aguayo, ex-Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin and former Rays infielder Tim Beckham. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times; DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times; Getty Images]
  2. Carlton: A moment of sanity when citizens finally said no

    Courts

    If you were looking for some small sign of sanity in the world, here's one courtesy of the people of Tampa and Hillsborough County.

    The Confederate memorial statue outside the old Hillsborough courthouse is now boxed up in plywood to prevent vandalism. Private donors have ponied up money to have the statue relocated to a cemetery. [JIM DAMASKE  |  Times]
  3. Review: Jason Aldean fires up a country-dude party at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

    Blogs

    Country music has a dude problem.

    I’m not talking about the proliferation of mindless bro country over the past half-decade, nor am I referring to the fact that most of Nashville’s best music these days comes not from said bros, from female singers and songwriters.

    Jason Aldean performed at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Aug. 18, 2018.
  4. President Trump offers prayers for Kissimmee police

    Blogs

    President Donald Trump reacted to the police shooting in Kissimmee: