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August 25, 2010
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Predicting crimes before they are committed

The LAPD's police chief believes computer-powered "predictive policing" will take departments to the next level

By Edward Tenner
The Atlantic

LOS ANGELES — If Amazon's algorithms can predict what kind of products you like, maybe similar programs can guess what criminals might like to steal. Los Angeles police hope to use predictive computer modeling to stop crime in its tracks, according to the L.A. Times:

"As police departments have gotten better at pushing down crime, we are looking now for the thing that will take us to the next level," LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said. "I firmly believe predictive policing is it."

Predictive policing is rooted in the notion that it is possible, through sophisticated computer analysis of information about previous crimes, to predict where and when crimes will occur. At universities and technology companies in the U.S. and abroad, scientists are working to develop computer programs that, in the most optimistic scenarios, could enable police to anticipate, and possibly prevent, many types of crime...

Read more on the Atlantic.


 

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