I love this story on ‘predictive policing’. Researchers use data to predict “hot spots” for crime and then send it over to the police. The cops on the beat patrol those areas more often and crime drops.
Math for the win.
The best way to fight crime is to keep it from happening in the first place. And while they don’t wield guns or carry badges, three UCLA faculty members are helping the Los Angeles Police Department do just that.
The scholars bring cold, hard science to predicting where certain crimes are most likely to be committed, a practice that, until now, relied largely on cops’ experience and intuition. In development for six years, the “predictive policing” software helps cops identify potential crime hotspots and stop illegal activity before it takes place.
In its initial test, the software did a great job of befuddling bad guys. During one five-week period last fall, police recorded about 100 fewer burglaries and motor vehicle thefts than they had during the same timeframe in 2010.
At the heart of the work is the premise that certain crimes—home invasion, burglary and grand theft auto are prime examples—are more likely to occur in rapid succession and close proximity to one another, which Anthropology Professor Jeffrey Brantingham calls a “self-exciting process.”
via – UCLA Magazine