“What is the number one activity of police officers in U.S. cities? What is the number one thing that they do?” Lincoln, Nebraska Police Chief Tom Casady paused before answering his own question. “It’s driving around aimlessly, burning fossil fuels, waiting for the next call from the dispatchers. For those of you in the room who are Chiefs, how many times have you heard your officers say, ‘We’re going from call to call to call’ and you know that that’s not true. There is an awful lot of driving around aimlessly waiting for something to happen. I don’t think this can last.”
“We’ve got to use our resources more effectively,” Casady explained, “and that means targeting our efforts more intensely on efforts that do not involve simply driving around waiting for something to happen. We’re going to be forced to do more with less, and predictive policing has the potential to help us be more productive and more efficient.”
Policeone.com reported that following Casady’s opening remarks, Chief Jim Mallard of the Arlington, Texas Police Department explained that predictive policing is an affordable, doable thing for any agency, no matter what the budget constraints may be. “I’m not saying that you can’t go out to the Expo and spend money on some sort of software with sophisticated mathematical algorithms. You can certainly do that — there are some applications that do some pretty incredible things. But to get into the realm of predictive policing does not necessarily require a huge capital investment in extremely sophisticated software for which there’s no analyst to provide interpretation and context. You can use tools that are less expensive — you can do these types of things and you can be proactive in other ways.”
Casady added, “We know an awful lot about crime and place. We’ve really ratcheted up our ability to predict where crime is going to occur. Give me a bar, tell me what their business model is, tell me what their clientele is going to be like, who they’re going to market themselves to, and I think I can predict pretty accurately whether we will or will not have a hot spot for assaults and disturbances. And we know more about crime and people. When it comes to criminal conduct, past performance is the best predictor of future performance, and we know fairly accurately who the frequent fliers are in our communities. The men and women who are most likely to continue to involve themselves in criminal activity are those men and women who have involved themselves in criminal activity in the past.”
Casady explained further that a recent development in predictive policing is a vastly increased knowledge base about the victims of crime. For example, a person who has been in a relationship in which they were victims of domestic violence, there’s a much greater probability that they’re get into another relationship in which they were victims of domestic violence, reported Policeone.com.
An analysis of crime and punishment from the perspective of a former prosecutor and current criminal justice practitioner.
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