Real-life Minority Report: Analytics assist police in detecting crime

Sunday, November 20, 2011
By Paul Martin

By Linda Rosencrance

Captain Sean Malinowski of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has just done something once unimaginable for a commanding officer: He’s given up control of deploying his beat officers to a computer.

Malinowski, commanding officer of the LAPD’s Foothill Community Police Station, is a pioneer in the field of “predictive policing.” That means using predictive analytics to analyse data, such as the times and locations of past crimes, to forecast where and when certain crimes are likely to happen in the future so police can stop them before they occur.

“We’re doing a rigorous examination, an experiment, for the next three months of predictive analytics and for the first time we’re going to rely 100 percent on the computer to forecast property crimes, which are the lion’s share of our crime,” he says. The experiment began 6 November.

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