Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Geospatial Prediction Technology Making Inroads In Policing

The Washington Post had a piece yesterday that looked at how predictive technology used by the military to analyze improvised explosive device sites is being used by police to predict where crimes are more likely to occur. The technology was used to narrow down the list of potential targets during the investigation of a shooting spree in Virginia. 
They had analyzed hundreds of factors such as the gunman’s sight lines, access points and escape routes. His escape route was particularly important; he stayed close to highways. 
With the data, they produced a list of hundreds of likely target areas, along with the probability that the shooter would visit each one. It helped them figure out where to focus resources and what to protect.
Via The Washington Post 
The piece touched on a fact that I think is one of the greatest benefits to the technology. That is, that while the technology may not tell you exactly where a serial criminal will strike next, it will help you narrow down the potentials. This is important as most police agencies have a limited amount of resources to throw at a problem. If a crime analyst can narrow down the list of possibilities, it makes it much easier for command staff to deploy these resources wisely.


  1. Good point Scott. The combintion of technology and analyst capabilities improves the efficiency of policing operations. unfortunately, police admin are still challenged to "let go" and trust the data


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