Monday, November 28, 2011

Predictive Policing Roundup

There were a number of stories in the news this weekend that talked about predictive policing. Here is a roundup of some of the more interesting ones:

The first piece over at NPR has this bit:

UCLA anthropologist Jeff Brantingham says he's not surprised. Human behavior, especially when in search of resources, follows very predictable patterns. For his doctoral work, Brantingham studied foraging strategies of ancient hunter-gatherers in Mongolia.

"It's surprising how similar the problems are," he said. "How it is that ancient hunter-gatherers found gazelles on the Mongolian steppes is very similar to how it is that offenders find a car to steal."

I'd have never guessed how similar thieves are to ancient Mongol hunter-gatherers. NPR also has a companion audio piece of an interview with former LAPD Chief Bill Bratton where he talks about how predictive policing fits into the future of policing.

The Mercury News has a piece on Santa Cruz Police and their predictive policing program being named by Time Magazine as one of the year's top inventions. In the story is this bit:

The program can also help ease the pain of departments dealing with shrinking staffing due to budget cuts, a matter of increasing importance given the nation's economic troubles.

"Technological programs like this can help equalize the gap there," said Friend.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel also mentioned Santa Cruz PD's predictive policing program in this story that looked a some crime numbers from Santa Cruz.

I think the next few years are going to be very interesting where predictive policing technology is concerned. Now if I can just apply some of this ancient Mongolian hunter-gathering mojo to some of the crooks in my jurisdiction.

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