Online Community Helps Police and Businesses Nab Crooks

By Matthew Harwood


The idea behind the online community, Hudson said during a session at ISC West, is to drive a sledgehammer into information silos and finally allow law enforcement and businesses to share information and videos of suspects in an efficient manner. Often times, he said, law enforcement and loss prevention professionals are working the same cases but don't know it because they aren't sharing information effectively. Hudson created CrimeDex to solve that problem. 

Currently CrimeDex is leveraged by 600,000 public and private security professionals, creating a Facebook-like social network that helps solve the crimes that plague businesses like organized retail theft and fraud. The crime data pumped into the community marries information and video and makes it searchable so security professionals can connect the dots across jurisdictions, like what happened in the McBride case. Currently, CrimeDex houses video and information on approximately 15,000 suspects and wanted criminals. 

Users can also send e-mail alerts organized around a geographic area to other CrimeDex participants to warn them of criminals active in their area and use facial recognition software to try and match a suspect they've entered into the system against a list of wanted criminals. 

Ted Barron, a former vice president and senior security manager at Wells Fargo Bank, said that the corporation has used CrimeDex to catch criminals preying on it. In one instance, the system helped catch a Russian citizen living in Oregon who used a computer program to steal $400,000 by matching payment cards to pin numbers across Oregon and California. 

CrimeDex, however, is a closed system that vets its customers to ensure they are law enforcement or loss prevention professionals.

Hudson says that if CrimeDex didn't vet its subscribers, criminals could use the system to determine whether they were on law enforcement or private security's radar and adapt to security professionals' latest tool. 

♦ Photo of smash and grab by Marijn de Vries Hoogerwerff/Flickr


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