Tuesday, May 22, 2012
A computer program could be the key to helping police solve crimes faster than ever. Geo Crime has been available to officers for years, but one Wichita police lieutenant's curiosity about the program could help investigators close even more cases.
In just a matter of minutes, three north Wichita residents reported a young man burglarized their homes. Police responded to the scenes quickly, but the man was gone and the neighbors could only give officers conflicting descriptions of him.
Instead of hitting the streets, Lt. Jose Salcido logged onto his computer and Geo Crime. He entered the addresses of the crimes, the times they occurred and filtered out females.
The program gave him the names of five possible suspects. Salcido then broke the results down based on the type of crimes the men were accused of committing and was able to narrow down the search to one man.
Salcido has been studying the Geo Crime program for years. He says it's an invaluable tool that can help boost officers' knowledge of local offenders.
"There are officers out here really good at remembering people, faces, tags... but when they retire, you lose that knowledge," said Salcido.
Salcido says the key to using the program is help from citizens. If someone sees something suspicious, he says it should be reported to police. The information will be uploaded into system so when another crime is committed, police have a head start on identifying the suspect.
"The message to criminals would be 'the pond is getting smaller.' If the citizens see you and they give us the information, sooner and later we're going to come get you," he said.
That's exactly what happened in the north Wichita burglaries. After two more crimes with same suspect description were reported, officers were able to arrest the man Salcido identified with Geo Crime. That man then confessed to all of the burglaries.