Feb. 27, 2013 Seattle Times
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and Chief John Diaz announced today that police have begun using new “predictive policing” software in the city’s East and Southwest precincts in an effort to reduce crime through analysis of data on crime and location.
“This technology will allow us to be proactive rather than reactive in responding to crime,” said McGinn during a news conference. “This investment, along with our existing hot spot policing work, will help us to fulfill the commitments we made in the ’20/20′ plan to use data in deploying our officers to make our streets safer.”
According to a Los Angeles Times article on predictive policing employed by the LAPD, predictive policing is rooted in the notion that it is possible, through sophisticated computer analysis of information about previous crimes, to predict where and when crimes will occur. Based on models for predicting aftershocks from earthquakes, predictive policing forecasts the locations where crime is likely to occur.
It works by entering all crime and location data dating back to 2008 into a complex algorithm that generates a prediction about where crimes are likely to take place on a certain day and time. Officers are provided with these forecasts before beginning their shifts, and are assigned to use their “proactive time” between 911 calls to patrol those areas, according to Seattle police.