Cops Credit “Predictive Policing” for Zero Crime Day

Like something out of the sci-fi story, "Minority Report," the LAPD deploys "predictive policing"

A new tool Los Angeles police say makes them better crime fighters isn't a gun, but a computer.

The LAPD is using a high tech crime-fighting technique known as "predictive policing" and it seems to have scored its biggest success.

Police said they enjoyed a day without crime on Feb. 13 in the LAPD’s Foothill Division, which stretches 50-square miles from Pacoima to Sunland Tujunga.

Capt. Sean Malinowski, of the LAPD’s Foothill Division, credits the new tool for the lull.

It disrupts crime, he said, with burglaries plunging from 132 last year to 58 this year.

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 —  cops can see 500-square foot "boxes" — get more attention by cops on the beat.

Police are using the information they gather to go to the neighborhoods where certain crimes are predicted to go down.

But police admit there remains a concern about the possibility of profiling.

“It doesn't tell us anything about race, gender anything like that,” said Chief Mark Yokoyama, of the Alhambra Police Department.

Instead, Yokoyama said, it looks at date, time, location and crime.

“You have to take a risk sometimes if you want to impact crime,” he said. “Our car burglary car thefts all went down last year, in fact substantially down."

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