Cops Using Math to Predict Crime

Algorithm anticipates where and when a crime might occur
By Tim Karan,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2011 11:00 AM CDT
Cops Using Math to Predict Crime
Cops in California are using a computer algorithm to predict where crimes are likely to occur.   (Shutterstock)

Didn't anyone pay attention to how things went for Tom Cruise in Minority Report? Cops in Santa Cruz, California, are using a computer math algorithm to anticipate when and where crimes are most likely to be committed, reports ABC News. Based on earthquake prediction technology, the system uses years of crime data to come up with daily "hot spots" that officers should patrol and what times an offense is likely to occur.

"As we continue budget cuts, as we are facing less and less police officers on the streets, we need to leverage technology to become more effective and efficient," says a department spokesman. By some measures, it seems to be working: The program launched in July, and burglaries were down 27% over the previous July. (More police stories.)

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