Thursday, November 17, 2011

More On Predictive Policing

Computerworld had a story this week on efforts at developing predictive policing technology by both Los Angeles Police and Santa Cruz Police. The article is worth the read and had some good info in it, including this bit:
The theory is that predictive analytics might work better on property crimes because the targets are stationary and the nature of the targets doesn't change that much over time, he says, unlike crimes where the victims are mobile and change their behaviors. 
Criminologists find it's easier to predict these types of crimes because there are patterns regarding where and when they occur. For example, burglaries tend to be clustered in terms of time and location and the individuals committing these crimes tend to have predictable patterns--usually they commit them somewhere near their homes or near familiar locations. 
Additionally, property crimes are not displaceable crimes, which means if police departments target these crimes in particular areas, the criminals won't simply move two miles to another location.
I've covered predictive policing in a number of previous posts. Like many crime analysts, I am waiting for the methodology to trickle out to the masses as it's something I'd like to be able to implement at my agency. Of course, I'd also like to be able to do it on the cheap, because like nearly every other law enforcement agency in the country, I don't have the budget to be able to purchase an expensive commercial data mining software package.

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