Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hello Minority Report???

For those who haven't seen the movie Minority Report.  Minority Report is a 2002 American science fiction film directed by Steven Spielberg. It is set in the year 2054, where "PreCrime", a specialized police department, apprehends criminals based on foreknowledge provided by three psychics.  It seems a bit far-fetched that people (or a machine) could actually predict crime....however, it is happening.  Our technology, might not be quite as predictive as that shown in the movie, but it is still quite impressive.

A few intuitive developers reformulated the technology that was originally created to predict when and where aftershocks would occur following an earthquake.  This led to a new program called PredPol, which actually predicts where crimes are likely to occur in place-based prediction boxes as small as 500 feet by 500 feet. Officers are briefed at roll call on the highest-probability “hot spots” for that day and devote extra attention to those areas—as they see fit.  Unlike other programs that tell officers where crime has occurred, PredPol tells officers where crime is likely to occur.  It simply gives officers the tools they need to increase their odds of stopping a crime or being in the vicinity of a crime.

The program is remarkably easy to use.  The information that needs to be distributed to officers can be viewed from virtually any technological device or printed out on paper.  The program runs off-site through a cloud-based service, meaning there is no requirement for departments to bring on additional technical staff.  The program is also completely secure, and does not ever collect any information about officers or offenders.

Field use of the program has been successful.  It has been implemented in the Los Angeles Foothills and in the City of Santa Cruz.  The Los Angeles’ Foothill Division saw a decrease of 13% in crimes, compared to an increase of 0.4% in the rest of the city where the implementation had not yet happened.  In the City of Santa Cruz, burglaries were down 27% in July 2011 compared with July 2010.

Check out the following video from CBS News to view the program in action by the LAPD.

To learn more about this remarkable program, contact PredPol.

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