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Data-Crunching Program Guides Santa Cruz Police Before a Crime @ NYTimes.com

…the presence of the police officers in the garage that Friday afternoon in July was anything but ordinary: They were directed to the parking structure by a computer program that had predicted that car burglaries were especially likely there that day.
The program is part of an unusual experiment by the Santa Cruz Police Department in predictive policing — deploying officers in places where crimes are likely to occur in the future.

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.

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Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. Aaron Eiche says:

    I’m kind of curious if this will foundationally shift the way that crime occurs. Crime (typically) happens when and where it does because it’s the most convenient for the criminal. Crime happens at night, in the “bad” neighborhoods because it provides a better climate for the person committing.

    If those opportunities become less and less, does the crime simply evaporate, or does it shift somewhere else. Where does it/can it go?

    1. Ren Tescher says:

      A lot of crime is committed in the late afternoon by kids out of school and before parents (or homeowners) return from work.  Broad daylight.

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