How military software helps police track gangs

Wed, 2013-08-21 06:08 -- Liz Enbysk

Software developed to help the military track networks of insurgents around the globe is now being tested by a metro police gang unit. If all goes well the partnership will be a win for the military and the police agency involved – and possibly other law enforcement agencies too. By working with the gang unit the military is able to hone its software for future wartime applications. But there's also a possibility it may be deployed more widely domestically.

The software is called ORCA – for Organizational, Relationship and Contact Analyzer. According to a report on the Governing site, it was initially developed to help the military track networks of insurgents. But now a teacher and students at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point are working with local law enforcement to hone the software.

ORCA can help track gang members by analyzing data to show relationships between individuals and organizations. "Making sense of how influential given members are and how gangs are organized is valuable intelligence for gang units trying to contain such crimes," Governing notes.

Or as a Los Angeles County sheriff's lieutenant put it, with limited resources any tool that can help officers work smarter on the streets is useful.

According to the FBI there are more than 1.4 million gang members in the U.S. today.

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