Friday, August 19, 2011

New project predicts crime

Here's a cool new project: Police in Santa Cruz, California are using computer models to look at past criminal data to predict when crimes are likely to occur in the future. Rather than relying on luck or officer hunches to patrol an area for a possible crime in progress, they let the computer predict the crimes and follow up on its advice.

According to this Times article, reaction to the prediction method among officers had been “quite positive.”

Officers are given a list of the 10 highest-probability “hot spots” of the day at roll call. They check those areas during times that they are not out on service calls.

Early indications are encouraging. Burglaries are down 27 percent in July compared with July 2010, suggesting that the targeted policing may have a deterrent effect.

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