Santa Clara County to Take ‘Data-Driven Approach’ to Fighting Crime

Violent crime is on the rise, and the DA's office has a new high-tech plan to fight back

Santa Clara County saw a jump in violent crime last year, according to the latest figures, and now the Disctrict Attorney's Office has announced a high-tech way to fight back.

The new plan, announced Wednesday afternoon, involves big data and the kind of data analysis typically used by Silicon Valley techies and a certain Oakland baseball team. The new program will be used to track crimes and criminals.

By analyzing crime data as it comes in, San Jose police officers will be able to more efficiently track crimes, the DA's office says. Hopefully, it will make for faster arrests even as San Jose's police department deals with issues of short-staffing.

"In an age where there's so much available information and data about criminals and crime, we in Silicon Valley can do a better job of harvesting that, in a unit designed to harness data, to solve crime in a collaborative and cross-jurisdictional way," said Marisa McKeown, supervising deputy district attorney for the county's Crime Strategies Unit.

In a news release, the Crime Strategies Unit outlined its two-pronged plan to address crime trends that it has identified within the county:

  • Focus on Gun Violence: The Weapon Initiative is aimed at blunting the widespread and devastating impact of gun crime. Through anticipated increased staffing at the DA's Crime Laboratory, the processing of guns and bullet casings will happen more quickly. This will lead to more arrests and more prosecutions. By solving more gun crimes, more quickly, the initiative can help stop violence by identifying shooters and bringing them to justice.
  • Targeting Burglary Crews: A small number of prolific burglars are responsible for many residential burglaries each year. The Crime Strategies Unit will partner with local law enforcement task forces on a new initiative to identify and prosecute burglary crews to bring safety and security back to targeted neighborhoods.

"Through a more data-driven approach to crime, our county law enforcement partners will be able to better utilize their limited resources for efficient and effective crime fighting," District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. "This recommitment to fighting crime with the latest and most comprehensive data will strengthen our collaboration for years to come."

Meanwhile, the latest county crime stats show a decrease in property crime last year. Overall, Santa Clara County ranks low in terms of the number of crimes committed among counties of similar size.

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