Greenwood police to fight crime using data analysis

(WISH Photo)

GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) — Using data and statistics to fight crime is an approach adopted in Indianapolis this year and now surrounding cities are following suit.

For decades Greenwood police have been collecting data on crimes, but until now the resources to put that information into action haven’t been available.

That will soon change, they say, for the benefit of the community.

Joseph Teske is taking on a new role at the Greenwood Police Department, moving from watch commander to crime analyst.

“My background is in military intelligence,” he said.

He’s taking his experience and applying it to crime stats on the city level.

“I’ll provide the data, and let them see on the maps where we’re having more crime during what periods of time, what type of crime is occurring,” he said.

“Crime analyst” is a new position for the department, but Assistant Police Chief Matt Fillenwarth said it’s critical in the digital age.

“All this data is coming in and all of it’s coming in live,” he said, “And even with computers sometimes it’s hard to sort what’s the important stuff we need to know and what’s not important.”

“There’s definitely a lot of data that can be plugged in and give us the results we’re going to want to drive our patrols,” Teske said.

Teske will relay crime trends to the commanding officers.

Then they can more strategically place patrol officers in the community.

“It’s just all about helping us police smarter with the work force that we have,” Fillenwarth said.

There will also be data sharing with other agencies, like IMPD.

“We’re right next door to Indianapolis, over 50 percent of the people we arrest in the city of Greenwood are not Greenwood residents,” Fillenwarth said.

That data sharing can help officers track repeat offenders.

And all this new data will also eventually be accessible to the public online.

“Doing an online map so that the public can go on and see, hey I saw police cars down here at this corner the other day, what are they there for?” Fillenwarth said.

The Greenwood Police Department is also expected to add three new officers to its 2017 budget.

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