February 27, 2007

CAP Index, the Exton, Pa.-based crime forecasting company, announced that three large U.K.-based banking, retail and security companies signed agreements to use its Crimecast crime forecasting system for their risk assessment efforts.

For the past two decades, CAP Index has provided products to companies to help them determine their risk for certain kinds of criminal activities at their physical locations. According to Jonathan Groussman, president and COO, Crimecast is a Web-based tool that employs the concept of social disorganization to gauge the crime risk probability of an area to help clients determine the best ways in which to allocate their security resources. It taps into data stores from local, state and national police organizations in the U.S., Canada and U.K. for assessments of crime statistics for a given location. "They can compare and contrast their properties across the country, one facility to another or branch to stand-alone ATM site," he explains. "This helps banks with their physical security assessments for the safety of employees and consumers. [Crimecast] is something designed to enhance existing security processes at companies. It's like a value add."

Banks can also employ the tool beyond physical security to such areas as fraud assessment and workers compensation models when combined with their own data, he says.

Groussman was unable to specify the name of its new U.K. bank customer at press time, only saying it was quite large and well-known. However, the company has been doing business with financial institutions in the U.S. including eight of the top 10 banks and its client list includes Washington Mutual and First Citizens Bank.

Now, with the current version of the product, companies that employ Crimecast can consult dynamic maps, manage accounts, create reports and reference a report library to assist with their security decisions. "The technology is available to conduct this type of real-time, online crime assessment," Groussman says.

He explains that the product was actually a slightly easier sell in the U.K. as opposed to the U.S. due to differing attitudes toward data use. "Banks in the U.K. are very data driven," Groussman states. "They employ risk matrices to understand existing and new markets. They're already grounded in the idea of making data-driven decisions around security and are used to using objective data to do so. This concept took a little longer to catch on in the U.S. since banks tended to go more with intuition in risk assessment in the past."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR