Santa Cruz police in general said the program has worked — although it's hard to measure.
"We don't really know what (crime) we prevent," McMahon said. "We only know what we don't prevent" because the car is burglarized and there is a police report.
McMahon said the daily Top 10 lists of potential crime locations have confirmed some officers' patrol intuitions. Police already knew that parking garages, for instance, provide a "target-rich" area for thieves.
"It gives us a better sense of where to be," she said of the predictive patrols. "You can be a little more surgical with your time."SCPD's approach to fully implement the program without control areas led to criticism in some circles about being able to scientifically confirm the efficacy of the experiment. But right or wrong, there is a huge interest in these types of programs.
Patrol officers want to know where they need to be to catch bad guys or at least to prevent a crime. Even if your agency doesn't have a fancy algorithm to predict crime, as a crime analyst you can probably make a pretty good guess based on your knowledge of crime in your jurisdiction.
Does your agency provide direction to officers about where they should spend discretionary time on patrol?