The introduction of an incident management (IM) system for the use by law enforcement agencies has drastically improved the number of cases solved within and outside the U.S. According to Cicione (2005), digital tools have changed old methods of crime investigation, namely by means of fingerprints, crime-scene evidence, and witnesses. It is due to new computer and cyberspace crimes. Thus, success in crime-solving greatly depends on the implementation of incident management systems and their use by law enforcement agencies.
The Usefulness of Incident Management Systems for Law Enforcement Agencies
Crimes can be very difficult to solve, due to they require investing money and time, as well as taking efforts and determination. The introduction of IMS into law enforcement agencies has helped ease the pressure and make the workload manageable. For example, in the process of investigating a crime scene, hearing witnesses and collecting fingerprints and other evidence, being the initial ways of solving crimes, can be actually tasking and dangerous, due to it exposes the lives of many crime-scene eyewitnesses to danger. Besides, the latter may choose to keep the information to themselves for the fear of being involved in the crime. However, with the help of IM systems, including the use of such technologies as survey cameras, Internet traces, and log analysis, it has become easy to detect and catch culprits. In addition, in the case of crime repetition, it is much easier to investigate by means of the experiences, information, and knowledge obtained from data files on the previous crimes.
Nevertheless, new technological tools did not help law enforcement agencies only, but also went a long way to assist in the reduction of the crime rate, causing an increment in the security level within the USA and other countries of the world. For instance, people feel more secured leaving their cars in parking lots in city centers and near malls, and in front of their residential areas, if these places are monitored by security technology software, such as surveillance cameras, which keep a record of everything that goes on around, and car security alerts, which can notify car owners of someone going near their vehicle.
Incident management systems have also made communication between law enforcement agencies and the society at large easier, due to they enable both to receive updated information on the ongoing crimes, such as robberies, fire outbreaks, bomb blasts, and so on. Besides, the work of law enforcement agencies have become easier in the sense that there is no need to rely on roll calls, boards, journals, and notepads to get information necessary to carry out their duties.
The Utilization of Incident Management Systems
In the USA and some other developed countries in the world, IM systems are based on the use of advanced technologies in relation to computerized facilities to combat incidents. Therefore, the utilization of IM has become more easier with the help of social networks, such as incident management websites or blog pages, where information about the ongoing crime or a crime site location can be posted. Besides, it helps to identify the geographical spread of an incident in the case of a disaster, which can be natural, for instance, earthquakes, tornados, and floods among others, and manmade in terms of a bomb blast. It allows notifying a law enforcement agency, as well as making it easier to access the crime scene.
However, incident management agencies manage resources carefully in attempt to satisfy the needs of an incident. Therefore, the use of standard resource management helps to prevent the loss of resources, while handling an accident. Kirwan, Martin, Rycraft, & Smith (1987) in one of their articles entitled Human Error Data Collection and Data Generation state that the main focus has been recently laid on the performance shaping factors (PSF), which are closely connected with the notion of reliability. Therefore, they point out that these factors, as well as psychological errors and behavioral descriptors, should be considered in creating a database. As a result, PSF determine the categories of data on crimes and incidents.
The idea of uploading a video on the net through a video online outlet has been made inexpensive due to modern technological advancements. IM agencies can possibly use this means to display “behind the scene” video of an incident or the local staff, and highlight the situation before a disaster, including a natural one, which can be predicted by weather scientists before its occurrence.
Moreover, there are different ways of the utilization of IM systems, including the use of social media, which do not just spread information, but also play a significant role before, during and after the occurrence of an incident or an emergency event. They prepare the society at large for such situations, as well as help in the collection of authentic data. To achieve these goals the above mentioned streaming and recorded videos are used together with crowdsourcing, pre-identified hash tags, Twitter town halls, gamification, and Travel Ready.
Crowe (2012) has stated in his article Preparedness and Recovery that public gatherings or town hall meetings have been a result of common interests of the public for a long time. However, in the case of reporting disasters, they have become less effective due to the development of new time-saving technologies, such as a Twitter town hall meeting. The latter was used by President Barack Obama in 2011. Nowadays, it helps several emergency management offices notify communities of possible disasters.
Ways of the Improvement of Incident Management Systems
Incident management systems have actually gone a long way to render useful services to society, contributing to the reduction of crime levels and leading to a drastic increment in security rates. However, the fact that nowadays most incidents, such a robbery, terrorism, Internet fraud, bank fraud, and so on, involve the use of advanced technologies, calls for improvement in the IM system in order to aid law enforcement agencies, namely the FBI, the police, CSI, and the rest of them, in crime-solving through the use of the same technological innovations. Due to some unforeseen circumstances that may result in an incident connected with the provision of services, many information technology departments try to improve their IM systems as often as possible.
However, there are various approaches to incident-solving, which follow such a procedural pattern as occurrence, detection, diagnosis, repairing, recovering, and restoring, in solving an incident. These steps require answering the first question what has changed. Furthermore, one of the commonest ways to detect an incident is through automated alerts, which show that there has been a break in the system and that something has occurred, such as a server failure. After the occurrence of the latter, the next step to be taken is diagnosing, which involves trying to find out what has gone wrong in the system and making a decision to efficiently solve the issue. It is done to restore services. This process calls for the improvement of one’s incident-solving skills, such as tracking incidents and final results developed by vendors.
Some improvement is required in the sphere of incident communication, which is facilitated by the use of the most advanced and common technologies, plans, and processes. The main operational and support unit of many IM agencies is based on adequate communication that should function properly in the sense of authentic and urgent awareness and interaction with certain services. Preparedness should handle issues connected with protocols necessary for obtaining an integrated voice, and data communication and collection. The avoidance of inadequate communication, especially during incidents, which involve multiple agencies at the same time, is also of great importance. Information transmission should not be broken to simplify communication, where it is possible, through the use of simple radio channels that need repeat channels for more efficient usage. It allows the channel to be used again outside the geographical zone of normal interference among radios.
According to the law of demand in economics, which states that a decrease in price causes an increase in demand, the truth of the matter is if the price of any business transaction drops, more costs, at which different IT organizations run their programs will be saved. It determines how accessible they will be when an incident occurs. It is a result of the law of demand. Spafford (2009) has stated in his article under the title Lowering the Incident Management Cost that the IT sector should reduce its costs, providing the same services for lower prices. As a result, IT managers are looking for ways to cut expenses wherever possible. However, incident management systems should not cut costs, due to the costing benefit their work may bring.
Overall, IM systems have been of great importance for law enforcement agencies in combating crimes and restoring security to the medium level. They need improvement in various ways, especially in the issues concerning communication, cost review, and others. Incidents are managed daily at the minimum level by different organizations. Most of them begin typically and end locally. In order to achieve maximum success, IM systems should depend on the involvement of a large number of different jurisdictions, the government, functional agencies, and emergency management groups. Such types of incidents need an effective and adequate coordination by a large number of different organizations and activities.