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3 min read

Lansing, Michigan Transforms its Utilization of Data & Resources

When the City of Lansing went looking for a way to unify its disparate data sources into a usable single source, it found TimeXtender

The Growing Pains of a Growing City

Michigan’s capital city, Lansing, was incorporated into the state in 1859, when it had fewer than 3,000 residents. Time and prosperity have seen it boom to a thriving city with a population of more than 500,000 and a diverse economy that includes government service, healthcare, manufacturing and education.

Yet this kind of success and prosperity comes with additional complications. As it tried to keep track of its data in our increasingly digital world, Lansing started to experience challenges related to accessing, combining and leveraging the data it held on its growing population. At its core, these problems were being caused by data on each individual being stored in, and spread over, a number of siloed data sources.

Looking at just criminal records, the city had been using its own local records management system for hosting law enforcement incident data, until it started using the State of Michigan’s Statewide Records Management System (SRMS) for incident reporting, storing the data on Microsoft SQL Servers. Yet historical crime incident data was also stored in the Offendertrak Corrections Management System, which tracks jail inmate data from the point of intake into the prison system through to release. Meanwhile, yet another system – CAD+911 Dispatch Management – is used for 911 emergency call and logging new incident data.

Gathering crime data, for everyday police work from these disparate data sources into a single location proved to be such a logistical nightmare that the need for a data management solution, capable of automating the integration, modeling and management of data, became obvious.

Transforming the city’s utilization of disparate data would require a solution that could provide a single, trusted and complete version of the truth to give law enforcement organizations faster, more accurate insights to data on criminal activity.

24/7 Access to the City’s Data

Law enforcement officers use data as a powerful tool to help curb crime and to do so, they require the interface with technology to be simple, easy to understand and fit for purpose. To provide this kind of daily, accessible analysis and insight across multiple sources, the city used TimeXtender to build and automate the preparation and integration of data and to build a unified data model that could support their requirements. TimeXtender is a high-performance data management platform that simplifies the creation and management of data architectures supporting analytics while accelerating time to data insights by up to 10 times.

Regionally focused business analytics consulting firm WIT works closely with its clients to build custom analysis solutions using industry-leading technologies like TimeXtender. With the help of WIT, the city quickly and easily merged its disparate data sources into a single data estate and then leveraged the powerful data modeling capabilities in TimeXtender to create a unified platform from which analysis can take place. Since access to this data is vital for day-to-day police operations, the city hosts the entire solution on a Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise Edition using Always On: Failover Clustering, ensuring 100% availability to its users around the clock.

This modern data estate forms the foundation from which law enforcement officials perform analysis using a dashboard to search criminal activity data, known addresses, license plate numbers, relatives, criminal history and so forth.

“Using multiple systems requires the ability to understand and navigate both the system being used and the language that accompanies each system. Using TimeXtender has provided the tool necessary to combine data sources into one consolidated location. Using the TimeXtender platform to remodel, cleanse, and create a consistent language between systems has made accessing and utilizing data much faster.” – Robert Gerth, Data Analyst, City of Lansing

A Single Solution That’s Better By Design

Implementing TimeXtender helped improve operational efficiencies but that was only the start of it. By drastically reducing the need to conduct time-consuming manual data manipulation, often at moments of high stress when speed was vital, TimeXtender has also saved time and resources by enabling the police to identify crime suspects based on one view of the city’s data from one consolidated location. This has helped the City of Lansing to improve Police efficiency and to create a safer environment for all citizens.

With TimeXtender’s flexibility and automation capabilities, analysis is now agile, easy to adjust and always online. Implementing TimeXtender enabled the City of Lansing to future-proof its data architecture while, at the same time, positioning it for future migration to the cloud.