IT uses data and algorithms to predict crimes in certain geographical hotspots in an effort to prevent potential crimes in those targeted areas. Traditional crime analytics uses a model of past events and place patrols and manpower in locations to curb crime rates in certain zones of a city or county. Law enforcement also still uses a reactive model in solving crimes that occur and make arrests based on investigations and evidence.
“Predictive policing entails becoming less reactive. “The predictive vision moves law enforcement from focusing on what happened to focusing on what will happen and how to effectively deploy resources in front of crime, thereby changing outcomes," writes Charlie Beck, chief of the Los Angeles Police Department.” 1
Random rounds and beats travelled by police personnel in districts and zones created from geographical boundaries have dominated law enforcement techniques for the last forty years. Although in more recent times, agencies have moved toward a more community based approach of officers using their best problem solving methods to limit problems and aid the public, most budgets require a more efficient leaner force to protect and enforce. Systems like COMPSTAT can take advantage of volumes of data collected by law enforcement to uncover previously unknown patterns and associations to aid officers in their efforts in enforcement and prevention.
“The strategic foundation for predictive policing is clear enough. A smaller, more agile force can effectively counter larger numbers by leveraging intelligence, including the element of surprise. A force that uses intelligence to guide information-based operations can penetrate an adversary’s decision cycle and change outcomes, even in the face of a larger opposing force. This strategy underscores the idea that more is not necessarily better, a concept increasingly important today with growing budget pressures and limited resources.” 2
Predictive policing anticipates needs and concerns in a particular area or region whereas the more traditional methodology has tried to spread as much of its force over its jurisdiction to cover any criminal activity that may occur. As a result, with major budget cuts, the past techniques have agencies spread too thin and their citizens left vulnerable.
COMPSTAT’s input includes past and present data and information gathered from crime and arrest reports as well as other statements and details given through the community. The information system’s algorithm processes, analyzes and searches for possible patterns, hotspots and suspects that were otherwise unknown.
“Accurate and timely intelligence (i.e., “Know what is happening.” (Godown, 2009)): In this context, crime intelligence relies on data primarily from official sources, such as calls for service, crime, and arrest data. This data should be accurate and available as close to real-time as possible. This crime and disorder data is used to produce crime maps, trends, and other analysis...