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Mobilization of Crime Mapping & Intelligence Gathering

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2013
258 pages
This project had two goals: First, to identify the mobile data needs of law enforcement officers and build custom smartphone apps to deliver and capture relevant information; second, to evaluate the effectiveness of smartphone and custom app deployment using experimental methodology.
The multi-method needs assessment phase of the project identified the need for three apps: crime mapping, a means for collecting field interview data, and an app for creating informational flyers. Apps were developed to meet these data needs in the field. The apps were implemented in a randomized controlled experiment that involved all officers in a mid-sized department as well as field civilians. The assessment of the implementation phase found that app adoption and use by officers was minimal throughout the experimental period. Survey and focus group respondents indicated several reasons for the lack of adoption. Users indicated that the crime-mapping app did not provide any additional benefits beyond what was already available. I t was also suggested that if additional data were provided, the app would be more useful. This indicates that a second generation of apps may gain more positive support. The field-interview app received a lot of criticism. Specific ways to use the product were suggested. Reductions in the delay between data acquisition and data availability could be achieved with electronically submitted field interviews. The flyer app was not evaluated due to its late deployment compared with the other apps. The overall conclusion is that the project provided cautious optimism that improvements in these apps will increase their usefulness. 67 figures, 7 tables, 22 references, and appended supplementary information on methodology and instruments used

Date Published: November 1, 2013