“Predictive policing” tries to address staff reductions by anticipating when crimes will occur

by David Solomonoff

The notion of predictive policing is attracting increasing attention from law enforcement agencies around the country as departments struggle to fight crime at a time when budgets are being slashed.

“We’re facing a situation where we have 30 percent more calls for service but 20 percent less staff than in the year 2000, and that is going to continue to be our reality,” Mr. Friend said.

Based on models for predicting aftershocks from earthquakes, it generates projections about which areas and windows of time are at highest risk for future crimes by analyzing and detecting patterns in years of past crime data. The projections are recalibrated daily, as new crimes occur and updated data is fed into the program.

Captain Malinowski envisions a time when the police will issue crime forecasts the same way the Weather Service issues storm alerts.

Full NY Times article

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