Project Pin Point

Project Pin Point

Map depicting radius around Abay Wheeler Bar

Map depicting radius around Abay Wheeler Bar

Project Pin Point (PPP) is a geo-spatial intelligence tool developed in 2004 by a Special Agent on the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force in Philadelphia. The tool was initially intended for fugitive apprehension, but evolved to include historical cell site analysis, informant development, and targeting capabilities for intelligencerelated functions. It is now used by most FBI field offices.

A notable success story for Project Pin Point came in July 2007, when four people were gunned down inside the crowded Abay Wheeler Bar in southwest Philadelphia after an argument turned into a shooting rampage. When police arrived, no witnesses came forward to tell what happened. Using PPP as a means to develop intelligence (information) and locate people who may have witnessed the murders, members of the Violent Crime Squad were able to target and find witnesses, recover the murder weapon, and ultimately identify and arrest the gunman in a matter of days. It works like this. PPP uses numerous data set layers, some of which include arrest warrants,crime and incident locations,registered sex offender addresses,and cellular telephone tower grid coordinates. These data sets are then over laid on to a basic mapping software platform, with the different data sets being represented by colored icons. The result is a clearly understandable visual display of crime data and information of interest to the FBI investigation.

While geo-spatial mapping was not new in 2004, the use of geospatial mapping products by mainstream law enforcement was not a common occurrence. PPP made available easy-to-use capabilities for the street-level investigator to conduct tactical operations to generate intelligence.

Through the use of PPP, FBI Special Agents and analysts are able to identify “hot spots” of criminal activity and locations of unsolved crimes. Armed with better intelligence, they then deploy resources to make arrests, debrief subjects, and generate new sources to help solve unsolved crimes and create new investigative opportunities, all of which advance both the FBI’s law enforcement and intelligence missions.

The colored dots represent different types of outstanding warrants, red being violent crime warrants. The yellow circles represent a high concentration of warrants indicating a need for law enforcement to develop more informants in that area.

Celluar towers have been plotted and are used to determine a subject's distance from the tower and the sectors he hits