Thursday, June 23, 2011

IBM Suggests Ways to Make St. Louis Smarter -- and Safer -- City

Posted By on Thu, Jun 23, 2011 at 10:35 AM

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The official title of IBM's initiative to help municipalities increase government efficiency is the "Smarter Cities Challenge."

In St. Louis, though, the initiative may as well be called the IBM "Safer City Challenge," as IBM's braniacs focused their efforts here on ways to improve public safety. Following three weeks of observation earlier this year, IBM yesterday released its 60-page conclusion that acknowledges the desire of St. Louis leaders to rid the town of its "Most Dangerous City" label.

But how can St. Louis achieve that? By sharing more information across city departments, says IBM.

The company noted that St. Louis' complicated structure -- with the police and judges under state jurisdiction, while the mayor, sheriff and prosecutor are each elected independently -- has led to a lack of communication between those charged with ensuring public safety. IBM suggests that these players meet regularly and organize their data and information in one system that can be accessed by all departments.

Already some judges are using streamlined information when determining bonds and sentencing for repeat offenders. At a news conference yesterday, the heads of the various departments all seem to agree with the study.

"We will get more for our money when the different agencies work much more closely together and share more information to target dangerous, career criminals," said Slay.

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