Business Leader Joe Issa Welcomes Geospatial Technology to Help Wipe Jamaica’s Crime Footprint

Following what has been the introduction of a series of measures to uplift Jamaica’s Crime image, including the just-passed Integrity Commission Bill, another crime-fighting tool is coming on stream — geospatial technology — which has been welcomed by tech-savvy Businessman Joe Issa.

Joseph “Joey” Issa — Founder Cool Group of Companies

Issa, who is known to have invested millions of dollars in technology to run his Cool Card subsidiary, has described geospatial technology as “cutting edge” and “capable of helping to wipe out the country’s crime footprint.”

In putting this latest initiative in context Issa, says in an interview that the Prime Minister, who is ultimately responsible for the wellbeing of people and country, is obviously concern, like all Jamaicans, about the impact of crime and perception of crime on the economy, stating, “Crime it is a bane in the country’s all-important place on the International Corruption Perception Index (CPI).”

Issa says the PM’s stance in doing what is necessary to improve Jamaica’s place in the CPI index is reflected in the tremendous will he showed in getting Parliament to approve the provisions of the Integrity Commission Act 2016, on news that Jamaica had slipped 14 places in the index.

On the latest development, Issa says, “I think this latest initiative to use technology to improve intelligence gathering for crime-fighting decisions is ground breaking and is further evidence of the commitment shown by the PM’s Growth Ministry to changing Jamaica’s crime footprint and enable its growth,” says Issa, who is executive chairman of Cool Group.

Issa was referencing Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Dianne McIntosh, who had underscored the importance of geospatial technology as “a critical tool in gathering data to plan, develop and make decisions for crime fighting,” the Jamaica Observer reported.

“By incorporating traditional law enforcement data with data such as demographics, infrastructure and offender tracking, we can use geographical information systems (GIS) to transform information into actionable intelligence,” she was quoted as stating.

The comments were said to have been delivered by a colleague at the launch of Geography Awareness Week 2017, and the 25th anniversary of the Land Information Council of Jamaica (LICJ) under the theme: ‘Geospatial Technologies — National Security and Public Safety for All.’

The function, which was organised by the National Spatial Data Management Division (NSDMD) of the Economic Growth and Job Creation Ministry, took place at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston recently.

In commending the focus on geospatial technologies to support national security and public safety, McIntosh explained that “geospatial datasets can support the crime-fighting effort by determining communication routes, as well as population density, distribution and structure.”

She informed that the NSDMD “has worked with the National Security Ministry in upgrading the Jamaica Crime Observatory to improve information available to security officials…this is by mapping the location of reported criminal offences and establishing a database to automate the assignment of spatial reference for future incidents.”

“There is no doubt that GIS technology can be used to achieve the Government’s overall goal of economic growth since, as a tool, it can be used to address major national security and public safety challenges that face us as a country,” Ms. McIntosh said, according to the newspaper.

Geospatial technology refers to equipment like GPS, GIS, and remote sensing (RS), among others, which are used in visualizing, measuring and analyzing the earth’s features. The technology is used to collect information that pinpoints the geographic location of objects or features on earth such as roads, buildings and oceans.

Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Lt Col Oral Khan, said Jamaica is considered “the forerunner in the Caribbean in the use of GIS technology” and that “the Government is working to further incorporate high end GIS technology in crime data collation and analysis.”