Public Security Blog
Cracking Down on Low Level Crime
How the Police Can Tackle Opportunist Offending in the Lead up to the Olympics
This year’s Olympics will see a massive increase in visitor numbers. The UK is expecting350,000 foreign visitors per day during the event and many more people will be drawn to London from other parts of the country. This huge influx will almost certainly result in an increase in all sorts of opportunist offending from pickpocketing to fraud and cyber-crime.
Despite the current focus on terrorism and ticketing scams, this upsurge in low-level crime is the greatest challenge facing the police in the lead up to the Games.
The police will need to react quickly and take fast, decisive action to clamp down on it.Extra resources will be on standby. Additional police will be bussed in and helpprovided by the military and private security guards - but all this will not in itself be enough to manage the problem.
To do this effectively, the police will need to pool resources and share information quickly and efficiently.
In doing so, their first priority should be to quickly record information about low level crime – ideally in free text format within a data management system or via an email gateway -so that no training is required. The issue will then be the need to manage the vast quantity of information likely to result from the roll-out of this process. Sophisticated analytics will need to be used to identify the common threads in the data, from the prevalence of the use of red bandanas in crimes across London, for example, or instances of looting in a specific post code.
This is key, because in order to combat low-level crime effectively at the Games, the police will need to be able to use technology to reveal patterns, anomalies, key variables and relationships in the data, leading ultimately to new insights and better answers faster.
Text mining techniques are likely to be particularly beneficial in this context helping police to save time and money by automating the tasks of reading and comprehending electronic text and enhancing the ability to spot trends and associations.
The insight gained will enable the police and other crime-fighting agencies to drive proactive evidence based decision-making, uncover threats and ultimately solve crimes.
Fortunately, the Metropolitan Police is already using an intelligence-led and analytics approach and its strategy for the Games is more of the same.