CBC.ca, Sep 2010, By Smart Shift
Imagine this scenario: you're sitting at home, watching TV. It's dark outside, a cool, overcast, moonless night.
Should you be worried about crime in your neighbourhood on a night like that? Should the police have more officers on the street?
A new wave of crime fighting software can help answer that question. The software takes into account tons of data. It plots crime against other variables, like the time of day, the neighbourhoods where they happened, the weather, the day or the week, and even whether it's a full moon.
The software then uses all those variables to predict when and where the next violent crime may occur.
This is proving to be very useful in figuring out where and when to deploy police officers. It allows police forces to become pro-active instead of reactive to crime events.
The police force in Edmonton, Alberta is using it. "For us, the bottom line is to prevent crime, and business analytics reporting has helped us accomplish that," said John Warden, business intelligence project team lead with the Edmonton Police Services, said.
Although the analytics systems can be expensive, a single installation can cost more than $100,000, police forces across the country are finding that they are worth it.
Police officers in Memphis, Tennessee are saying they are getting major results from predictive analytics.
"[The Memphis Police Department] has seen a reduction in violent crime, property crime, and part 1 crimes (which include violent and property crimes) by an average of 15.8 percent without a corresponding increase in officers -- while expanding its overall geographical coverage," a report by an independent research firm, Nucleus, states.