This spring, police departments nationwide gained access to a new mobile software tool for tracking crime in their communities, thanks to technology developed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Red Brain Law Enforcement Services LLC, a UNL spinoff, released CrimeView NEARme to allow police officers to access location-based crime data.
Over the past six months, 75 Lincoln Police Department officers piloted the app and found it to be what Lincoln Public Safety Director Tom Casady calls, “a groundbreaking new technology for police officers.” He explained that “there’s nothing else like it available.”
Realizing NEARme’s commercial potential, the development team worked with NUtech Ventures, the nonprofit responsible for building partnerships between the University and the private sector, to license the software.
“This is a perfect example of how University researchers, when teamed with experts who know the needs of end users, can create value in a market,” said David Conrad, executive director of NUtech Ventures.
Red Brain’s president is Ian Cottingham, a UNL graduate who leads the Computing Innovation Group with UNL's Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Red Brain partnered with The Omega Group, developers of a variety of crime analysis products, to widely release the software application.
The idea for NEARme, formerly called Proactive Police Patrol Information, or P3i, came from Casady. Then the Chief of the Lincoln Police Department, Casady reasoned that if he could find a restaurant in the area on his phone, then officers could view location-based crime data while in the field.