Thursday, May 24, 2012

On Hot Spots, Predictive Policing And Good Police Work

I've been trying to post links to news stories that I find that deal with predictive policing. Earlier this week I found this piece over at the Monterey County Weekly that looked at looked at Salinas, California Police plans to implement a predictive policing program. 
“Every good cop knows where their hot spots are, but what Predictive Policing does is focuses that to a very manageable area,” Deputy Chief Kelly McMillin says. “That’s important in Salinas, where we have so few officers on the street anymore, to look really closely where those officers are spending the minutes they have to be out patrolling.”

Predictive policing is generating a lot of interest both in and out of law enforcement. Earlier this week the International Association of Crime Analysts Vice President Susan Smith and John Hollywood from the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center gave a presentation at the IACP Law Enforcement Information Management Conference titled "Predictive Policing: What It Is, What It Isn’t, and Where It Can Be Useful".

I am sure that we're going to see more and more about predictive policing technology as it becomes more widespread and more accessible to law enforcement agencies.

Would you like to implement this type of crime analysis technology at your agency?


  1. Here's the question that I have been struggling with lately? What's the best way to hot spot police? In most jurisdictions, the hot spots are fairly stable over time. Do you establish hot spots for the long haul and adjust only if/when significant shifts occur over time? What about the second pillar of Jack Maple's fundamentals of crime reduction: rapid deployment of resources? Despite stable hot spots, we know that flare ups will occur in other places. Ignore them in favor of playing the odds, or do as Maple suggests and put cops on the dots as they emerge? Seems kind of reactive on the surface. Is it even an either/or? Is someone out there doing both? I'd love to hear some practical takes on this question.

  2. The IACA Publications Committee recently put together a research digest on hot-spot policing. It looks at several academic studies on hot-spot policing and summarizes their methods and findings. If you're an IACA member, you can find it here:

  3. Tim & Samantha, thanks for the input!

  4. Professor Andrew Ferguson of University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law sent me a link to a paper he did on predictive policing. It's an interesting read on the legal implications of the use of this technology. You can view it here:


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