Predictive Systems vs Intelligence Led Policing

Posted on Aug 14, 2017 by Rob Wolf, Vice President, NC4 Public Safety

Law Enforcement's need for sophisticated technology to support mission demands for fighting and reducing crimes is ever increasing. Providing law enforcement officers with real-time crime reporting to accurately pinpoint crimes, patterns, and incidents improve their ability to fight crime faster. When it comes to technology in law enforcement, there are two major topics frequently discussed: predictive systems and intelligence-led policing. Are they one in the same? What are the differences between them? How effective are they? 

Predictive policing refers to the use of mathematical, predictive, and analytical techniques in law enforcement to identify potential criminal activity. Predictive policing methods fall into four categories: predicting crimes, predicting offenders, predicting perpetrators' identities, and predicting victims of crime. With predictive policing, officers use crime data to determine where and when crimes are likely to occur, as well as who may be the potential perpetrators or victims. Police forces then use this data to help determine where they should concentrate their patrol efforts.

I once heard the head of a major city police department say "I predict if we don't catch the offender today, they will commit a crime tomorrow" when describing his view of predictive tools.  He went on to say nearly every commander on the street knows where crime occurs in their areas, if they don't, they shouldn't be a commander. His point was that utilizing intelligence-led policing to manage the offenders had a much greater opportunity to impact crime. 

So what then is intelligence-led policing? How does it differ from predictive policing? Our view is that intelligence-led policing is having the right information available to every officer on the streets.  Real-time information flow is essential to effective crime fighting. For example, if the organization is faced with a series of home invasions, having the ability to plot on a map, in real-time, adult and juvenile offenders with a history of home invasions, active warrants and historical crime all in one view is incredible. Most important, officers can visualize recent bulletins and blog conversations that often contain key information that isn't in a crime report. 

The basic flow of intelligence-led policing is:


Most agencies utilize CAD and RMS records to accomplish this – however, we believe this leaves out critical information from the field. The NC4 Street Smart® bulletin and blog features allow real-time information flow from the field and allow for intel and crime analysis units to quickly and easily distribute information back. Most importantly, it brings a single view of all the information an organization has available. No officer wants to be told to go "sit in the box" and wait for a crime that might occur. Give the right information and the right tools to the officers and let them have an immediate and direct impact on the offenders in their area, thus reducing crime and ensuring the offender can't commit a crime tomorrow.

NC4 delivers safety and security solutions that revolutionize how law enforcement organizations collect, manage, share, and disseminate information to reduce cyber threats, fight crime, mitigate risks, manage incidents, and securely communicate and collaborate with other agencies and community stakeholders. NC4's law enforcement technology solutions provide agencies with technology-based tools to improve their efficiency in fighting crime. More specifically, NC4 Street Smart enables officers to share relevant, structured and unstructured information in real-time through situation-based bulletins and police blogs – all the while having crime data at their fingertips while out on patrol in their communities. What's more, the intelligence-led NC4 systems also allow police officers to share data with different cities and counties, creating a stronger network and connection to communities across jurisdictions.

For law enforcement to keep pace with the criminals, they must leverage the advancements of web-based tools and technologies to improve crime-fighting efficiency. Capabilities in blogging, electronic bulletins, and social media are no longer nice-to-haves but are now must-have law enforcement tools.

For more information on the platforms available to your organization, contact NC4 at 877-624-4999, or feel free to email us anytime at

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