Gordon Tokumatsu, Troy McLaurin
The LAPD tests out a new approach to prevent crime called "Predictive Policing." Based on results, the new method could be here to stay. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Pacoima for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014.
Sonia Moran has been pleasantly surprised by the increased police patrols in her Pacoima neighborhood lately.
She may be noticing the results of a new approach at preventative law enforcement ...being tried here by the lapd. it's called "predictive policing."
In predictive policing, computer algorithms take data from specific kinds of crime -- burglary, auto theft and car break-ins -- then map them out for officers. Areas with the most such crimes will get more attention by cops on the beat ...who can actually see them in 500-square foot "boxes."
LAPD Capt. Sean Malinowski says officers are trying to prevent crime.
"We're trying to prevent that crime or deny the criminal the opportunity to commit the crime in the first place," he said.
But some community activists, such as Pete White, worry about how predictive policing will be administered in communities of color. Commanders, after all, admit that they want officers to make contact with people in those high-crime zones.
It's part of the reason, they say, that burglaries have plunged more than 20 percent in the area.
Malinowski believes that officers and community members “in the box” are more likely to interact.
Because they're out of the car and they're looking for symptoms of crime.
But White wonders if officers will react to this new crime-fighting tool the same way in less-wealthy South LA as more-wealthy Pacific Palisades.
Predictive policing appears to be here to stay, police say. Tuesday morning, the civilian oversight Police Commission gave commanders the green light to continue a limited city-wide roll-out as long as those crime rates keep dropping.