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Jan 30, 2012

Holy Analytics, Batman!

By Mike Westholder

Anyone familiar with the many incarnations of Batman in comic books, films or TV shows recognizes that the Caped Crusader is a technology-driven crime fighter. But behind the flashy utility belt and the tricked-out Batmobile, Batcopter and Batboat, is what can only be described as a data center.

And while it would impossible to get Bruce Wayne or IBM to confirm it, my hunch is a mainframe has been humming away in the Batcave for decades. Given the data analysis Batman does to track down criminals, it seems a fair bet. How often do we see him analyzing crime patterns, video and GPS information?

Perhaps taking a page from the Dark Knight, more and more police departments nationwide are adopting new analytics platforms to better protect and serve their communities. IBM crime-analytics solutions are used by more than 3,000 law enforcement agencies across the nation. On Jan. 25, IBM announced two more cities were added to the list: Las Vegas and Rochester, Minn.

"One of the most effective ways to reduce crime in cities is to apply analytics technology to public safety to identify crime patterns," notes Mark Cleverley, director of IBM Global Public Safety. "Law enforcement is able to gain valuable insight and focus resources on proactive policing efforts to improve citizen services."

Perhaps the most impressive example can be found at the NYPD. This 2010 video explains how New York’s finest are empowered by data analytics to identify perpetrators, track them down and bring them to justice.

The reality is fighting crime in Gotham isn’t that different from the movies. Technology and analytics play a key role. Of course, the real crime fighters don’t bother with a Batsignal.


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