Tennessee city attributes 31% drop in crime rate to knowing when and where to put cops on the street.
By Doug Henschen, InformationWeek, July 21, 2010
What started as an experimental predictive crime-prevention initiative in 2005 is now a proven program that's about to get a big boost with new data and new forms of analysis.
IBM announced on Wednesday that the Memphis Police Department (MPD) is enhancing a predictive-analytics-based "Blue CRUSH" (Criminal Reduction Utilizing Statistical History) program by adding public call data to the information it analyzes to thwart crime before it occurs.
Launched five years ago by the University of Memphis Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, the Blue CRUSH program started with analysis of historical data on gun crimes committed in North Memphis. Using predictive analytics software from SPSS (which was acquired last year by IBM), the University modeled patterns of crime and shared the results with area law enforcement agencies.
"Of course we knew the areas that had a lot of gun-related crime, but [Blue CRUSH] analyses helped us see patterns of exactly when and where the incidents were occurring," said John Williams, Crime Analyst Unit Manager at MPD. With better insight, the department was able to send patrols to the right places at the right times, increasing arrest while also curbing incidents, Williams said.