Data-Crunching Program Guides Santa Cruz Police Before a Crime - NYTimes.com
In July, Santa Cruz began testing the prediction method for property crimes like car and home burglaries and car thefts. So far, said Zach Friend, the police department’s crime analyst, the program has helped officers pre-empt several crimes and has led to five arrests.
Based on models for predicting aftershocks from earthquakes, it generates projections about which areas and windows of time are at highest risk for future crimes by analyzing and detecting patterns in years of past crime data. The projections are recalibrated daily, as new crimes occur and updated data is fed into the program.
The notion of predictive policing is attracting increasing attention from law enforcement agencies around the country as departments struggle to fight crime at a time when budgets are being slashed.