Creating a safe city is a complex, multi-dimensional undertaking. One of the foundational steps to achieving a safe city is for individual agencies to improve their operations by removing process disconnects and enabling wider analysis and use of data. Agencies should use data to address key issues, prioritize demands, and improve their ability to adapt and respond. But delivering on those goals is easier said than done.
The fundamental issue surrounding safe city improvements lies in the siloed nature of agencies. Although every public safety agency agrees there are processes, policies, and technologies that make cities safer, they frequently differ on priorities and the best way to achieve those goals. If officials really want to take meaningful steps toward building a safe city, they must invest in revitalizing their operations through data.
The public safety mission is changing, creating tensions between new hazards and needs, competing demands, and constrained resources. To adapt to the modern era, agencies must treat data differently. First, they need to harness data to determine what their priorities should be objectively. Then, they can shape their policy. Once the policy is written, they can thoughtfully communicate their decision to stakeholders.
Let’s explore these stages in further detail.
Step One: Manage Data More Effectively
The first step is simple: agencies must begin by managing data in a more coordinated and holistic way. For example, you cannot plan a computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system in isolation. To respond effectively to changing needs, a CAD system should accept a myriad of different data (e.g., pictures, videos, chat, etc.) and associate them to the event record. Those pieces of data must then be shareable with responders in the field as well as your records management system. Agency data doesn’t just need to become more robust; it needs to be utilized in as many ways as possible.
Step Two: Improve Internal Processes
By coordinating and making data more easily accessible, agencies can streamline their operations and remove duplicated processes from their daily procedures. In addition to saving time, this also builds a consistent pool of data, which they can leverage to improve operational efficiency. Questions such as, “When and where are our resources best used?” are no longer hypothetical or subjective. Agencies can analyze their internal data to take concrete steps toward greater efficiency.
Step Three: Gain Public Trust & Understanding
Many in the public safety community view this step as the need for increased transparency of first responders. But this is a data problem as well. For example, if robust agency data is immediately available to the public, it can then stand up to scrutiny. It combats false claims and questions, but also allows the public to understand the reasons driving a policy or investment. This step ensures the public can trust the motivations behind an agency’s actions as well as gain a better understanding of why those actions occurred in the first place.
For more information about data analytics tools that can help you achieve safer cities, check out HxGN OnCall Analytics.