Authorities in Argentina are reshaping security policies by putting more emphasis on information sharing and data-driven policing, an approach that could pay major dividends, although there are questions about how it will be implemented.
Argentina's Security Ministry plans to restructure the federal security forces in order to better equip them with the tools required to combat organized crime activities such as trafficking of drugs, persons and arms as well as terrorism, reported Infobae.
The strategy seeks to establish greater information sharing among the federal forces so that they can identify criminal patterns before they develop.
Along those same lines, authorities are planning to open more lines of communication between the security and intelligence agencies. They are also creating a new agency that will coordinate state responses to cyber crime.
Meanwhile, police in the capital city of Buenos Aires are looking to compile data about suspects onto a single platform so that all the information is at the officers' fingertips when they arrive at a crime scene, reported the Financial Times. They also plan to use data to predict where crimes are most likely to occur.
"We can be ahead of what could happen," said Martín Ocampo, the minister of justice and security in Buenos Aires. "With predictive analytics, we want to make it so hard to commit a crime in the city that criminals will not do it."
InSight Crime Analysis
Understanding how criminal groups operate and coordinate activities with other networks is a central component to combating organized crime, so on the surface the government's plan appears promising. But given the lack of concrete details about how the authorities plan to facilitate interagency cooperation, this may not amount to much more than a reshuffling of the bureaucratic deck. It is telling that the government announced almost a year ago a similar campaign to generate greater intelligence in order to better investigate and dismantle organized crime groups.
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Other sweeping changes to Argentina's security policy have failed to live up to their expectations. For example, President Mauricio Macri authorized the armed forces to shoot down suspected drug plans in January 2016, but last November officials said 40 such planes coming from Bolivia land in Argentina every day.
The plan to integrate more data into policing in Buenos Aires, while still in the conceptual stage, is more likely to have a tangible impact on security. Police forces in countries across Latin America have been experimenting for years with technology and mapping data to determine where and when crimes are most often committed. These examples provide a wealth of information for the program's designers in Buenos Aires to draw upon.