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June 01, 2011

911 Services: Analysis of Call Recordings Uncovering Trends, Evidence in 911 Calls


By Tammy Wolf, TMCnet Web Editor


More than likely, we’ve all dialed 911 at least once in our lifetime. While the reasons for an individual to call 911 are endless, the 911 services system is pertinent – both for immediate response and follow-up investigations.

Whether it’s an arson-related fire, a terrorist attack or a violent dispute among individuals, recorded 911 calls are crucial evidential components to solving a crime or preventing a similar event from occurring in the future. For years, public safety answer points (PSAPs) have been handing over 911 call recordings to investigators to extensively evaluate call content and the date and time in which the calls took place. A time-consuming process, the manual analysis of this data can often inhibit investigators from rapidly achieving a broader view of what occurred and spotting patterns in emergency communications.

Therefore, PSAPs are now enlisting the help of speech analytics services to assist in investigations, expose trends, and enhance PSAPs’ effectiveness and response times. By indexing the context and meaning of every phrase and word in a call, analysis of these 911 interactions in ongoing investigations can provide law enforcement officers a “bigger picture” on the incidents occurring in a community. 

As written in an article in Law and Order magazine, the analysis of 911 call data can help “piece together” a flow of events and thus detect emerging trends in a specific area. For example, if calls are revealing an increase in arson-related fire, in-depth analysis of related 911 calls can reveal that trend without a PSAP user’s direction. Instead, analytics showcase the category of calls that display the biggest increase or drop in occurrence over a particular period of time. Often serving as a precursor to incidents, 911 call data analysis can help public safety agencies be more prepared and even help prevent future incidents.

While 911 call analysis can serve as a tool for investigation matters, it also grants emergency responders the ability to pinpoint trends before they become widespread problems. For example, if a string of activities are occurring in a specified area, a thorough analysis of 911 call recordings can help investigators backtrack and find underlying links among the incidents. In addition, the thorough analysis processes can help improve call handling, and thus lead to best-practice training for dispatchers.

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Tammy Wolf is a TMCnet web editor. She covers a wide range of topics, including IP communications and information technology. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell



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