Deploying resources more efficiently, anticipating the behavior of criminals, boosting officer morale by ensuring support is nearby, estimating where pockets of crime will spring up before they do – data analytics deliver these and many other benefits, say McCue and other law enforcement experts.
Indeed, the cities that have adopted data-based approaches to crime prevention are seeing remarkable results.
California is experiencing a boomlet in crime-fighting success since the introduction in 2012 of PredPol, short for “predictive policing,” a data analytics software platform created by researchers at UCLA, Santa Clara University, and UC Irvine.
PredPol anticipates where crimes are likely to occur in geographic prediction boxes as small as 500 feet by 500 feet. The Santa Cruz Police Department, which pioneered PredPol in 2011, reported a 27 percent reduction in burglaries that year and a 19 percent reduction in property theft by 2012. In Los Angeles, crimes were down 13 percent where PredPol debuted in 2012, compared with an increase of 0.4 percent elsewhere in the city.
“The feedback we’re getting is that everyone, from police chiefs down to beat cops, is able to put data analytics into play quickly and effectively.”
“PredPol and other data analytics aren’t a substitute for good police work, they’re another tool police can use to elevate all their methodologies, including their own best on-the-ground instincts,” says Dr. George Mohler, the Santa Clara University professor who developed the PredPol algorithm. “The feedback we’re getting is that everyone, from police chiefs down to beat cops, is able to put data analytics into play quickly and effectively.”