PredPol recently released our developer APIs and we’re very excited about it. API is a computer-speak acronym that means “application program interface.” In layman’s terms, an API is a software service that lets different applications share data with each other securely. This is a major step for PredPol as we evolve into becoming a broad law enforcement technology platform.
Our APIs support both inbound and outbound data. This will make it easier to transfer data into PredPol as well as transfer data out of PredPol to other systems. The kind of data that goes into PredPol remains the same as before – we still use only the what-where-when attributes of event data:
- Event type
- Event location
- Event data and time.
Note that we never use any personally identifiable information, nor do we use arrest data, demographic information, or any other data fields. Event types can range from crimes such as robberies and auto theft, other public safety events such as traffic collisions, and calls for service for medical events such as overdoses.
With our API, we can connect directly into the information systems used by our partners. These include typical law enforcement systems such as records management systems (RMSs) and computer assisted dispatch (CAD) systems, or other databases tracking event data. Our API allows us to securely and easily import the information we need from our partners on a real-time basis with no ongoing work required. We can even ingest data in from sensors to track events like gunfire.
PredPol also uses our APIs to push data out into other systems. Our philosophy is that our partners own their data, so they shouldn’t have to be tied to proprietary systems or pay their technology vendors extra money just to get access to it. Virtually all of the data we collect and create – raw event data, predictions, GPS locations, dosage, missions, event statistics – is easily exportable to external systems via our well-documented APIs. Of course, we also allow our users to export their data into PDFs, CSVs, shapefiles and KMLs as well.
Our API documentation includes authentication and key management, data structures and field definitions, and code samples to simplify integration. Development assistance and ongoing support is also provided by the amazing PredPol engineering team.
The PredPol APIs can shorten your deployment time significantly. Once they are set up, they will also virtually eliminate ongoing support and maintenance tasks – all the heavy lifting is done on our servers, in the highly secure Microsoft Azure Government Cloud.