In a city with a long history of law-enforcement friction, activists and the Los Angeles Police Department are squaring off again. The latest crime-fighting controversy isn’t over issues like police brutality, corruption or gangs — it’s all about data.
In 2011, Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the National Institute of Justice published a paper titled “Police Science: Toward a New Paradigm,” the ideas of which were developed at the Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety hosted at Harvard University. The paper calls for a “radical reformation of the role of science in policing” that prioritizes evidence-based policies and emphasizes the need for closer collaboration between universities and police departments.
We all know police officers respond to crimes after the fact. But what if cops could learn about crimes before they occur — and take steps to prevent them? That’s the promise of predictive policing, a high-tech approach to public safety that uses data about previous crimes to forecast new criminal acts.
Kent police has pioneered predictive policing in Britain. Having trialled and adopted PredPol, a US commercial product, in 2013, the force has gained more experience than most. Sceptical at first, officers introduced the tool after a trial revealed PredPol was 60% better at spotting where where crimes would take place than the force’s analysts. “There was nothing we could do that was more accurate,” said Jon Sutton, head of transformation, performance and analysis at Kent.
While predictive policing aims to improve the effectiveness of police patrols, there is concern that these algorithms may lead police to target minority communities and result in discriminatory arrests. An IUPUI School of Science computer scientist conducted the first study to look at real-time field data from Los Angeles, CA and found predictive policing did not result in biased arrests.
Overall crime in Merced is down by 2 percent, a fact that contradicts what many city residents may believe, according to police Chief Norm Andrade. A number of factors such as “predictive policing” and an increase in officers contributed to the falling crime rate in the 25-square-mile city, Andrade said, but he attributed a large portion to the work of the city’s Gang Violence Suppression Unit.
It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie. Soon, when Ft Myers Police officers start their shift, they will look at a map of the city and a computer program will tell them where to patrol.
It will be a precise location, determined by a mathematical equation that is designed to predict where a crime will occur.
LOS ANGELES — Sgt. Charles Coleman popped out of his police SUV and scanned a trash-strewn street popular with the city’s homeless, responding to a crime that hadn’t yet happened.
It wasn’t a 911 call that brought the Los Angeles Police Department officer to this spot, but a whirring computer crunching years of crime data to arrive at a prediction: An auto theft or burglary would probably occur near here on this particular morning.
Like every other law enforcement agency in Central Florida, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office keeps statistics on every crime committed. But the Orange County Sheriff’s Office puts those past numbers to work to predict future crime.
Our partner agency in Tacoma, WA, who is reducing burglaries with their use of PredPol’s predictive policing and their crime fighting efforts.
This article and video cover Orange County, FL Sheriff’s use of PredPol to help aid their efforts to prevent crime.
Learn how PredPol founder, and UCLA professor, Dr. Jeffery Brantingham helped develop and test predictive policing in Los Angeles and Kent, UK in a UCLA-led study!
Less than 100 law enforcement agencies around the country are using a new technology that can predict where crime is likely to occur. One of those agencies is in Central Florida. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office says “predictive policing” is a powerful new tool in the battle against crime. Amanda Ober reports.
Our partner agency in Reading, PA, has been using PredPol to help in their crime prevention efforts. The latest story details their multiyear crime drops.
You’ll learn a little about the origins of predictive policing’s in Los Angeles (keep your eye open for the mention of Jeff Brantigham!).
This editorial explains Medway, UK’s use of PredPol to prevent and reduce crime.
Predictive policing tools help law enforcement agencies of all sizes prevent crimes before they happen. This comprehensive review of predictive policing features PredPol’s software and results.
“PredPol doesn’t take into account race or other social characteristics, and only predicts where and when crime is most likely to occur based on analysis of past crime patterns.” PredPol and our predictive policing software is featured in this story about the future of crime, which includes insight from PredPol co-founder and UCLA professor Jeffery Brantingham.
Oxford police for the last month has been testing a software program that helps patrols predict where crimes might happen. “We’re enjoying it,” Partridge said. “We’re looking forward to seeing what else it can do.” The program, company officials say, does not represent profiling, because it doesn’t collect personal information or use demographic statistical analysis.
“The recession has hit Modesto. The police budget has decreased between 2009 and 2013, we lost 12% of our workforce. But during that time, crime increased. The only solution was to innovate ” – in other words, to address the shortage of manpower through the use of advanced technologies: “Now we can be proactive, to focus our limited resources on priority areas.” (Translated from French)
Since 2013, burglaries dropped 18.1 percent to 852; auto thefts were down 30.4 percent to 206; and arsons were down 25.9 percent to 20. Since late 2013, police have been using a crime prediction tool, a software program that studies where crimes occurred in the past to project where they are likely to occur in the near future. Heim has focused it on burglaries, and credits it for the drop in that crime in 2014. Spencer credits the overall work the police have been doing, from innovations such as predictive policing and their community relations work, despite limited resources.
PredPol, which was developed by mathematician George Mohler at Santa Clara University in California, has been widely adopted in the US and the UK. The software analyses recorded crimes based on date, place and category of offense. It then generates daily suggestions for locations that should be patrolled by officers, depending on where it calculates criminal activity is most likely to occur.
As it happened, the deputy chief told me, the alleged offender was discovered in a PredPol box, a 500-by-500 yard area identified by software the department has been using to predict where crime might happen each day during each of three shifts. Coincidence? Too good to be true when the software targets only 15 of these half-block areas in a city covering about 16 square miles? Santa Cruz and Los Angeles are among the first cities to try out predictive policing. That’s because the technology was developed by two California professors: UCLA anthropologist Jeffrey Brantingham and Santa Clara University computer science and mathematics professor George Mohler. Their algorithm, built on both mathematical and human behavioral foundations, is the guts of the PredPol crystal ball.
“Also, we’re able to predict where that next crime is most likely to occur through a data set called PredPol. It allows us to really put a number of algorithms in and come up with a set of locations on where we believe that next crime is going to occur – it’s a tool – allow[s] our officers to be able to deploy them in the right area to prevent those crimes from occurring.” – APD CHIEF GEORGE TURNER
Predpol CEO, Larry Samuels, discusses how using only what, when, and where from law enforcement’s big data can help predict and prevent future crimes.
Can Latin America see greater success in reducing urban crime and violence by emphasizing data collection and analysis? In Uruguay’s capital city Montevideo, police are using a software program called PredPol to predict when and where crimes are most likely to occur. The software, which was developed by a team of mathematicians and social scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), is designed to help police plan their patrols by identifying likely crime hotspots.
Predictive policing is hot stuff: In a 2012 survey of almost 200 police agencies 70% said they planned to implement or increase use of predictive policing technology in the next two to five years. PredPol is being used in almost 60 departments, the biggest of which are Los Angeles and Atlanta, but Samuels is eyeing more. “My goal by the end of 2015 is to have the majority of large North American metro areas using this,” Samuels says. “The market is ready.”
Translated: One of the most advanced programs in this area is PredPol, software that was inspired systems for earthquake prediction and is being tested in several police units in California. The effectiveness of the first tests was such that the magazine Time chose him as one of the 50 best inventions of 2011. The anthropologist Jeffrey Brantingham UCLA is one of its creators. He said he became interested in the area because his parents were two prominent criminologists Simon Fraser U., Canada.
PredPol uses 10 years of police data to predict where the next rash of crimes will break out based on these factors. In 2011 the Los Angeles Police Department rolled out PredPol in its Foothill Division. Four months later, crime had dropped 13% in the policed area, compared to increasing 0.4% where PredPol wasn’t used.
With a few clicks of the keyboard, years of crime data and a mathematical algorithm, police are working to predict crime before it happens.
The future is now for the Norcross Police Department. Officers there use a special computer program that tries to predict where crime will happen; specifically, places police may be overlooking.
Recently a Santa Cruz, Calif. police officer noticed a suspicious subject lurking around parked cars. When the officer attempted to make contact, the subject ran. The officer gave chase; when he caught the subject he learned he was a wanted parolee. Because there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest, the subject was taken to jail. PredPol News from January 2013.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles police are aiming to beat suspects to the scene of a crime by using computers to predict where trouble might occur. PredPol News from July 2012.
The LAPD is implementing a computer-based program called “Predictive Policing,” which uses mathematical calculations to predict where crime will occur, reports Bob Orr. PredPol News from April 2012.
Police officers in Santa Cruz, California, are getting ahead of the bad guys by figuring out where crimes will be committed before they take place. Using a computer program developed by mathematicians, an anthropologist and a criminologist, officers are able to predict what areas of the city are most at risk for future crimes and the time the crimes are most likely to occur, so they can have a member of the force at the ready. PredPol News from November 2011.
The arrests were routine. Two women were taken into custody after they were discovered peering into cars in a downtown parking garage in Santa Cruz, Calif. One woman was found to have outstanding warrants; the other was carrying illegal drugs. PredPol News from August 2011.
A new crime fighting strategy where the motto for police isn’t just “to protect” but “to predict and serve”… Here in Santa Cruz, early indications suggest the program is working. In fact, burglaries here were down 27% in July compared to the same month a year ago. PredPol News from August 2011.
Police are getting closer to the sci-fi future – a daily forecast that shows where new crimes are likely to crop up. It doesn’t just tell you what will be, it tells you when it will be and what type of crime it will be. Major cities across the country are working to start similar programs. PredPol News from August 2011.