How a Homegrown Mobile System Helps Police Bust Gang Members

A local police force built a mobile-data system to quickly access the records officers need to make arrests.

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To curb gang activity in California, local courts and law enforcement created a special injunctions process that permits the arrest of known gang members for small infractions--in hopes of preventing more violent crimes. But to be really effective, arresting officers needed timely information to help them make good decisions and follow proper procedures.

The answer was a mobile-data system that puts "information at an officer's fingertips to make an arrest," says Ed Ivora, an administrative analyst and head of technology at the Long Beach Police Department.

A gang injunction is a court order making it illegal for known gang members to loiter together, possess spray paint or commit other small crimes in a pre-defined "safety zone." If a police officer sees such behavior, he can make an arrest. But first, the officer must verify that the person has been served the court papers.

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