Predictive policing refers to the usage of predictive and analytical techniques in law enforcement to identify potential criminal activity. Predictive policing methods fall into four general categories: methods for predicting crimes, methods for predicting offenders, methods for predicting perpetrators' identities, and methods for predicting victims of crime.
The technology has been described in the media as a revolutionary innovation capable of "stopping crime before it starts". However, a RAND corporation report on implementing predictive policing technology describes its role in more modest terms:
- Predictive policing methods are not a crystal ball: they cannot foretell the future. They can only identify people and locations at increased risk of crime ... the most effective predictive policing approaches are elements of larger proactive strategies that build strong relationships between police departments and their communities to solve crime problems.
In November 2011, TIME Magazine named predictive policing as one of the 50 best inventions of 2011. In the United States, the practice of predictive policing has been implemented by police departments in several states such as California, Washington, South Carolina, Arizona, Tennessee, and Illinois.
In 2008, Police Chief William Bratton at the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) began working with the acting directors of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the National Institute of Justice (NJI) to explore the concept of predictive policing in crime prevention.
In 2010, researchers proposed that it was possible to predict certain crimes, much like scientists forecast earthquake aftershocks.
Predictive policing program is currently used by the police departments in several U.S. state such as California, Washington, South Carolina, Arizona, Tennessee, and Illinois. Predictive policing programs have also been implemented in the UK, for example in Kent County Police.
In China, Suzhou Police Bureau has adopted Predictive Policing since 2013. 
The effectivess of predictive policing was recently tested by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), which found its accuracy to be twice that of its current practices. In Santa Cruz, California, the implementation of predictive policing over a 6-month period resulted in a 19 percent drop in the number of burglaries. In Kent, 8.5 percent of all street crime occurred in locations predicted by PredPol, beating the 5 percent from police analysts.
- The Role of Crime Forecasting in Law Enforcement Operations
- Joel Rubin (21 August 2010). "Stopping crime before it starts". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- "The 50 Best Inventions". Time (magazine). 28 November 2011. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- Zach Friend. "Predictive Policing: Using Technology to Reduce Crime". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- Walter L. Perry (2013). Predictive Policing: The Role of Crime Forecasting in Law Enforcement Operations. RAND Corporation. p. 4. ISBN 0833081551.
- http://www.kent.police.uk/news/latest_news/131203_predpol_day_a.html. Missing or empty
- http://epaper.legaldaily.com.cn/fzrb/content/20141009/Articel04001GN.htm. Missing or empty
- "Don’t even think about it". The Economist. 20 July 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013.