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RPD invests in new software to help cut down on crime

By Nadine Maeser, nmaeser@wdbj7.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:48:52 PM EST
Updated On: Nov 19 2013 09:51:15 PM EST

It's made possible by federal grants

ROANOKE, Va. -

The Roanoke City Police Department is banking on a new software program to help cut down on crime.

The department opened the doors to the I-STAR center just a few weeks ago.

I-STAR stands for intelligence, statistics, technology, analysis and research. It's used to help identify patterns of crime. The software looks at locations, types of crimes as well as the time of the day crime typically happens

Crime analysts then pass the data on to officers so they'll know where to patrol the problem areas.

"With this new technology we can become more accurate and more specific,” said crime analyst Logan Magnussen. “We can target criminal activity, we can gear officers toward it through our analysis more efficiently as a police department reduce crime and preserve the safety of our citizens."

The software cost the police department about $85,000.

The police department also got the green light from Roanoke City Council to purchase another software program.

The Law Enforcement Information Exchange, also known as LINX, is already being used by a number of agencies throughout the Commonwealth.

Roanoke City Council awarded grant money to the police department through the State Homeland Security Program at Monday night’s meeting.

LINX will now allow Roanoke Valley investigators to electronically pull up prior records of criminals as well as reports other law enforcement officers file in other jurisdictions.

Investigators said with time, all agencies in the Commonwealth will probably be hooked up to LINX.

"I think it’s an excellent tool,” said Sgt. Jeffrey Newman. “I think it will be of great use in our region for the solving of crimes."

The grant is worth $325,000. It will pay for eight local agencies to hook up to LINX including Roanoke City Police Department, Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office, Roanoke County Police Department, Roanoke City Sheriff’s Office, Salem Police Department, Vinton Police Department and Virginia Western Police Department.