New PA State Police Tool Gives Public Instant Access to Crime Data

First-Of-Its-Kind Web-Based UCR System to Improve Access, Accuracy

Of Crime Statistics

Enables Police Departments to File Crime Information Electronically

Apr 05, 2001, 01:00 ET from Pennsylvania State Police Department

   HARRISBURG, Pa., April 5 /PRNewswire/ -- On behalf of Gov. Tom Ridge, State
 Police Commissioner Paul J. Evanko today unveiled a web-based Uniform Crime
 Reporting (UCR) system that provides instant access to state crime data and
 enhances the accuracy of that data.
    The website can be reached through the PA PowerPort at or
 directly at
    "The public now can view the Pennsylvania crime statistics online as soon
 as police enter the data," Col. Evanko said.  "This new system -- the first of
 its kind in the country -- enables police departments throughout the
 Commonwealth to file their crime information electronically.
    "It's another example of the Ridge Administration's commitment to making
 Pennsylvania a national leader in the use of technology to prevent, solve and
 track crime.
    "UCR data is used by police departments and municipal officials to measure
 trends they can use to adjust their crime-fighting efforts and resources.  The
 more accurate and complete the data, the more valuable it becomes as a
 planning tool.
    "We also believe that the ease of this new program will encourage
 departments that have not participated in the UCR program in the past to begin
 filing their crime statistics."
    Col. Evanko said police departments used to gather crime data monthly and
 mail it to State Police, who entered the information into a computer program.
    When errors were detected, State Police mailed the information back to the
 department for corrections.
    Now, departments enter the UCR data directly into a State Police database
 via the Internet.  If an error is detected, the database notifies the
 department and requires that it be corrected before the information is
    Prior to this year, information submitted by the departments was not
 available to the public until State Police published the annual Uniform Crime
 Report.  Now citizens can go to the website and view the data as soon as it is
 submitted.  The system allows users to create their own queries to access
 specific crime information by department, by county or statewide.
    Col. Evanko noted that, during the past year, State Police have conducted
 training for local police departments to help them become familiar with the
 new system.
    "The system will allow departments to report their numbers in the
 traditional summary format and, when they are ready, to begin reporting in the
 incident-based format that is preferred by the Federal Bureau of
 Investigation," Col. Evanko said.
    Col. Evanko said development of the $2.3 million system was funded through
 the Governor's budget and through grants totaling about $800,000 from the
 Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
    The new system went online last month.  It was designed and implemented by
 the State Police Bureau of Research and Development with assistance from
 Electronic Data Systems, with offices in Camp Hill, Cumberland County, and
 Information Builders, with offices in Plymouth Meeting, Montgomery County.
    Gov. Ridge won sweeping reforms to Pennsylvania's criminal justice system
 through his Special Session on Crime, called immediately after his
 inauguration in January 1995.  That session produced more than three-dozen new
 laws to crack down on violent crimes; to elevate victims' rights; to reform
 the state's juvenile-justice system; and to give law enforcement new tools to
 fight crime.
    Today, Pennsylvania's State Police crime-fighting arsenal includes:
     -- Computer-equipped State Police patrol cars that enable troopers
 responding to a criminal incident or making a traffic stop to have instant
 access to national and state vehicle-registration data, operator license
 information, wanted-person checks, and other critical information.  They also
 will enable troopers to record information and prepare reports at the scene;
     -- Mobile crime-laboratory vans linked to a new statewide fingerprint
 identification system.  Troopers can transmit fingerprints lifted at the scene
 of a crime directly to headquarters.  If a match is found, troopers can know
 the identity of a suspect before leaving the scene;
     -- The Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS), which uses the
 latest computer technology to capture images of the microscopic features found
 on the surfaces of fired bullets and cartridge cases.  The images are stored
 in a State Police database that is tied in with a growing number of databases
     -- Creation of a State Police DNA computer database, with links to a
 national database.  The technology gives police in Pennsylvania access to the
 genetic profiles of hundreds of thousands of convicted violent offenders
     -- Forensic mapping systems that use computerized surveying equipment to
 map traffic crash sites and criminal scenes;
     -- A new mobile command post used by State Police to direct operations at
 significant events;
     -- Upgraded and new criminal laboratory equipment, including an electron-
 scanning microscope;
     -- Portable intoximeters that use fuel-cell technology to measure a
 person's blood alcohol content; and
     -- Computerized polygraphs, or lie detectors, used with a laptop computer
 and printer.
     CONTACT:  Jack J. Lewis or Cpl. Lucien R. Southard, 717-783-5556, of the
 Pennsylvania State Police Department.

SOURCE Pennsylvania State Police Department