Predictive policing

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Predictive policing refers to the usage of mathematical, predictive and analytical techniques in law enforcement to identify potential criminal activity.[1] 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.[2]

The technology has been described in the media as a revolutionary innovation capable of "stopping crime before it starts".[3] 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.[2]

In November 2011, TIME Magazine named predictive policing as one of the 50 best inventions of 2011.[4] 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.[5]


Predictive policing uses data on the times, locations and nature of past crimes, to provide insight to police strategists concerning where, and at what times, police patrols should patrol, or maintain a presence, in order to make the best use of resources or to have the greatest chance of detering or preventing future crimes.


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.[6]

In 2010, researchers proposed that it was possible to predict certain crimes, much like scientists forecast earthquake aftershocks.[5]

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.[5] Predictive policing programs have also been implemented in the UK, for example in Kent County Police[7] and the Netherlands.[1]

In China, Suzhou Police Bureau has adopted Predictive Policing since 2013.[8]


The effectiveness 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.[5] 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.[5] In Kent, 8.5 percent of all street crime occurred in locations predicted by PredPol, beating the 5 percent from police analysts.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Rienks R. (2015). "Predictive Policing: Taking a chance for a safer future.". 
  2. ^ a b The Role of Crime Forecasting in Law Enforcement Operations 
  3. ^ Joel Rubin (21 August 2010). "Stopping crime before it starts". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "The 50 Best Inventions". Time (magazine). 28 November 2011. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Zach Friend. "Predictive Policing: Using Technology to Reduce Crime". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  6. ^ Walter L. Perry (2013). Predictive Policing: The Role of Crime Forecasting in Law Enforcement Operations. RAND Corporation. p. 4. ISBN 0833081551. 
  7. ^ "Predictive Policing day of action targets burglars". Kent Police. Archived from the original on 2014-05-02. 
  8. ^ ""大数据"给公安警务改革带来了什么". 2014-10-09. 
  9. ^ "Don't even think about it". The Economist. 20 July 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013.