01/21/2011

Behind Chicago's new predictive policing unit

'Predictive Analytics' fusion centers aim to produce twice-a-day intelligence reports on crime hot spots

By Frank Main
Chicago Sun-Times

CHICAGO — It was a bit like a scene from “Minority Report,” the 2002 Tom Cruise movie that featured genetically altered humans with special powers to predict crime.

In October, the Chicago Police Department’s new crime-forecasting unit was analyzing 911 calls for service and produced an intelligence report predicting a shooting would happen soon on a particular block on the South Side.

Three minutes later, it did, police officials say. That got police Supt. Jody Weis thinking. He wondered if the department could produce intelligence reports even quicker. Next time, officers might have an hour’s notice before a shooting — instead of just a few minutes.

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