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IBM Brings Higher-Tech Crime Fighting to Las Vegas, Minnesota

Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) -- International Business Machines Corp. is tackling crime in Las Vegas and Rochester, Minnesota, where police departments have turned to high-tech analytics to forecast crime “hot spots” and pursue leads quickly.

Software analytics is being used to help Rochester police detect and predict crime patterns by creating a better database with more reliable information. In Nevada’s biggest city, a program called Coplink will organize data across four agency databases, helping police make “non-obvious connections” between people, places and things like mobile phones and cars, Armonk, New York-based IBM said today in announcing the two deals.

The world’s biggest computer-services provider already has worked with police in cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Memphis, Tennessee, to tackle crime more effectively by mining data -- everything from arrest records and surveillance video to unwise boasts on Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc.

“We’re using intelligent tools to help find things that are hidden in the large amount of data that police already have,” said Mark Cleverley, director of IBM’s public safety initiatives. “We’re generating more and more quantities of data, so you need these kinds of tools to be able to make sense of that information.”

Some of IBM’s policing technologies evolved from business applications, including tools that predict what shoppers may be tempted to buy based on their initial purchase, and identity databases that casinos use to ensure they’re comping -- and keeping an eye on -- the right and wrong gamblers, Cleverley said.

IBM has spent about $14 billion on 25 analytics acquisitions in the past five years. Former Chief Executive Officer Sam Palmisano made a priority of helping to build “smarter” cities and businesses through software and programs that analyze and project trends. New CEO Virginia “Ginni” Rometty, who succeeded Palmisano this month, inherits a five-year plan that includes adding $20 billion in new revenue by 2015.

To contact the reporter on this story: Beth Jinks in New York at bjinks1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net

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