Praise for new crime busting technology
Crime in Southland has fallen 21 per cent in two months, coinciding with police using new technology to solve offences.
Southland's area commander, Inspector Lane Todd, said new technology was also helping the region's police solve more crimes faster and had contributed to the region having one of the highest crime-solving rates in the country.
Mr Todd confirmed crime had fallen 21 per cent during the last two months of the financial year, which he hoped was a good sign for the rest of the year.
"Technology keeps police away from desks and on the streets," he said.
"More beat patrols on the street are having a positive effect on crime rates."
The introduction of new systems in the past few months was having a huge impact, he said.
Police were equipped with iPhones and iPads in late June.
The technology had proved useful in preventing alcohol-fuelled offending, which had fallen significantly.
Mr Todd attributed this in part to crime prevention plans, which included officers walking through licensed premises.
If they spotted trouble brewing, police used their devices to indicate "hot spots" that needed police presence.
That prevented crime from happening, he said.
Police also prevented crime by scheduling visits to "hot locations", such as areas where burglaries were increasing.
The devices and a new centralised district file management centre had reduced paperwork and got more police on the street, he said.
There was now a crime-reporting line that ensured frontline staff time was used better, and former wads of paperwork were now electronically recorded and easier to process.
A system called Winscribe meant police could also ring in a job sheet and it would be stored electronically.
"On average, technology keeps each police officer out in the field 30 minutes longer per shift."
Police used Facetime on their iPads and iPhones to communicate confidentially and share more information, which they were unable to do with the police radio, he said.
Device applications such as maps proved useful for police supervisors, who could map the co-ordinates of a crime.
Cameras on the devices were used to record serious crime scenes, which proved useful at staff briefings.
Police planned to introduce more applications on devices, such as fingerprinting and facial recognition, in the near future.
The new Southland police Facebook page had a "good strike rate" for catching people with warrants out for their arrest.
There were also other technologies being used to solve crime, but Mr Todd did not want to tipoff criminals.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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