This project work identifies the challenges facing police departments that seek to implement computerized crime tracking information systems. The project highlights the importance of police departments identifying crime records and then designing systems that accomplish the tasks specific to the needs of their end-users. Data transfer, data integration, system customization, and confidentiality issues are discussed. One of the most significant shortcomings in the delivery of justice is the delay that is encountered by court users which increases the cost of litigation in both time and money, and results in pro-longed criminal trials and over-crowded prisons. Hence the new system designed will aid police in tracking crime records and thereby facilitate timely delivery of judgment by the court.
The software was implemented using Visual basic 6.0 and Access database.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The traditional and age-old system of intelligence and criminal record maintenance has failed to live up to the requirements of the existing crime scenario. Manual processes neither provide accurate, reliable and comprehensive data round the clock nor does it help in trend prediction and decision support. It also results in lower productivity and ineffective utilisation of manpower. The solution to this ever-increasing problem lies in the effective use of Information Technology. Crime Tracking Information System uses computer-generated records as an interface for integrating and accessing massive amounts of location-based information.
Crime tracking system allows police personnel to plan effectively for emergency response, determine mitigation priorities, analyse historical events, and predict future events. Crime tracking system helps identify potential suspects to increase investigators suspect base when no leads are evident. The ability to access and process information quickly while displaying it in a spatial and visual medium allows agencies to allocate resources quickly and more effectively. In the ‘mission-critical’ nature of law enforcement, information about the location of a crime, incident, suspect, or victim is often crucial to determine the manner and size of the response. Crime tracking software helps co-ordinate vast amounts of location-based data from multiple sources. It enables the user to layer the data and view the data most critical to the particular issue or mission.
It is used world over by police departments, both large and small, to provide solutions for crime analysis, criminal tracking, traffic safety, community policing, Intranet/Internet mapping, and numerous other tasks.
Crime tracking system helps crime officers determine potential crime sites by examining complex seemingly unrelated criteria and displaying them all in an interface. It also helps them map inmate populations, fixtures, and equipment to provide for the safety of inmates by separating gang members, identifying high-risk or potentially violent inmates, and identifying hazardous locations in an area. It reduces the potential for internal violence by providing better command and control. Traditionally, these activities have been supported by paper and pen. Police officers now have the ability to immediately generate crime report directly relevant to the situation at hand. Police agencies collect vast amounts of data from many sources including called-for-services, arrests, first information reports and daily report. The same information provides a powerful decision making tool for investigators, supervisors, and administrators.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The lack of reliable central case recording systems for Nigerian police meant that cases were in effect impossible to trace without considerable resources, effort and a lot of luck. For criminal cases the impact of this has been felt in the practice of ‘holding charge’, where people are arrested and charged with capital offences in order to ensure their continued detention, whilst there is little or no evidence of their involvement. This issue has contributed significantly to the visible inefficiency of the Criminal Justice System, particularly the congestion of the prisons and the courts.
To improve the flow of cases and achieve speedier administration of justice, the introduction and deployment of information technology (IT) based case management and tracking systems is needed.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this project is to design and implement a database for storing crime records. This will aid the police in crime tracking and control.
The main objective of the project was to Speed up criminal trials and reduces the length of time Awaiting Trial Prisoners (ATPs) stay in prison by setting up a criminal case tracking system that improves coordination between justice institutions. The system would ensure a better case flow and efficient data management that would inform better management decisions.
1.4 JUSTIFICATION OF THE STUDY
Implementation of a crime tracking information system by the Nigerian police will help the police and the masses to get useful information on individuals with crime records. The system developed will among other things:
- Maintain a database of all crime records.
- Enable a quick search on the database to retrieve crime information
- Enables Enugu police and the Nigerian police to track previous crimes committed by a suspect.
- Improved operational efficiency through the use of a standardized system, searchable digital repository of relevant documents, automated workload distributed and virtual boarding of cases.
- With Case Tracking System (CTS), it is possible to access contact details of the Nigeria police Force (NPF) and the judiciary at a glance and it facilitates quicker and more effective communication between the police and judiciary. With Case Tracking Information System attorney’s would spend less time to utilize the information in a manner that is most beneficial to them.
1.5 LIMITATION OF THE PROJECT
Due to time and financial constraint, I was unable to visit most of the police stations in Enugu to gather information on the existing crime tracking information system. Few police stations were visited and the information gathered from the officers in charge forms the basis for the design of the new system.