USAO up to 100,000 transactions. This gives USAO a cost-effective way to map incident locations across all nine counties.

Straight to the Heart

The new system, called the Project Safe Neighborhoods Mapping and Analysis Program (PSN MAP), allows users to ask questions, the results of which are displayed and visualized in different ways. The PSN MAP's primary interface provides users with a multi-tab form, built using ASP.NET, that allows them to complete a "quick picks" search page or a set of more complex who, what, where, when and how search pages.

The quick-picks search page is a simple form where the user determines general offense groups to query over a general time period, within a jurisdiction, that may involve an individual or a weapon-type. The advanced who, what, where, when and how search pages provide more query-refining controls that allow the user to narrow the search parameters to a very complex, unique question. The user can then view the query results in a general table listing that provides six key attributes, or on a map with base map context data.

The real power of PSN MAP is in its multi-jurisdictional approach. Users can define a search area that crosses township, city, county or state boundaries, and patterns of crime along transportation corridors become much more visible as a result of this analysis.

"PSN MAP helps us get to the heart of the problem more quickly," said U.S. Attorney Patrick Meehan. "It streamlines the process, helps us cut through the data and allows us to target areas where gun violence is having its most devastating impact."

Better Decisions

PSN MAP is the first federal-level solution that integrates local police department data into a federal warehouse, and it's the first multi-jurisdictional application to track regional gun violence and firearm statistics using geospatial technologies. Because PSN MAP is Web-based, users only need Internet Explorer and access to the RISS database, which most major police departments and district attorneys offices already have, to use it.

Besides reducing data redundancy and allowing law enforcement to make more informed decisions, PSN MAP also has proven to be an innovative way to foster communication and cooperation among law enforcement agencies in eastern Pennsylvania.

"In several counties, the crime rates have dropped dramatically as a result of Project Safe Neighborhoods," said Donald Totaro, Lancaster County District Attorney.

Future functionality being developed for PSN MAP includes temporal charting of events, which is analyzing the change in variables over time and mapping/charting incidents based on time periods; and buffer analysis, which is similar to density mapping, in which users can define a search area to see how many incidents have occurred in that area or near it. In addition, a greater number of users are being introduced to PSN MAP each month with hopes of broadening participation and program use to multiple states.

"Our partnership with the United States Attorney from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has been unprecedented, and has allowed the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office to aggressively prosecute violent criminals," said Totaro.

Justine Brown  |  Contributing Writer