Police Turn to Crime Prediction Software to Make Our Streets Safer

When you hear about crime prediction software, you might picture something akin to Minority Report, where people are arrested before they even commit a crime. In reality, crime prediction software is a useful tool that calculates where a crime is most likely to occur and sends officers to patrol those areas more frequently.

The way that this software works is that it uses the locations of past crimes to flag potential future crime scenes. The logic here is that whenever a crime occurs in a specific area, there will be more criminal activity in that area the following few days. It is sort of like an aftershock effect and has proven to be pretty accurate at predicting where crimes like burglaries will take place:

“On average the program predicted the location and time of 25 per cent of actual burglaries that occurred on any particular day in an area of Los Angeles in 2004 and 2005, using just the data on burglaries that had occurred before that day,” noted NewScientist.com.

Currently the program is being tested to predict and prevent crimes such as home burglaries and vehicle theft. Every night the crime data is updated based on what happened that day, and the following morning officers have up to ten 150-square-foot areas to patrol (aside from the their regular patrol routes). By following this system, officers are more likely to catch criminals in the act, or at the very least deter would-be criminals from engaging in criminal activities.

(Via Gizmodo) / (Image by Pquan licensed under Creative Commons)

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