Followup: Predictive Policing to debut in 2 precincts, including ours

A followup today on our report last week about Southwest Precinct Lt. Pierre Davis telling the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council that SPD would soon use Predictive Policing – a new way to use crime data to work on preventing crime, not just responding to it. This morning, the mayor and police chief announced its debut in the Southwest and East Precincts. Official announcement, with details on how it works, ahead:

Mayor Mike McGinn and Police Chief John Diaz announced today that new “Predictive Policing” software has been deployed in the East and Southwest Precincts. The software was designed by the University of California, Los Angeles in partnership with the Los Angeles Police Department. It has been used by police departments all over the nation to reduce crime through deep analysis of crime and location data.

“This technology will allow us to be proactive rather than reactive in responding to crime,” said Mayor McGinn. “This investment along with our existing hot spot policing work will help us to fulfill the commitments we made in the 20/20 Plan to use data in deploying our officers to make our streets safer.”

“The Predictive Policing software is estimated to be twice as effective as a human data analyst working from the same information” said Police Chief Diaz. “It’s all part of our effort to build an agile, flexible and innovative police department that provides the best service possible to the public.”

Based on models for predicting aftershocks from earthquakes, Predictive Policing forecasts the locations where crime is likely to occur, down to a geographic area as small as 500 feet by 500 feet. It works by entering all crime and location data dating back to 2008 into a complex algorithm that generates a prediction about where crimes are likely to take place on a certain day and time. Officers are provided with these forecasts before beginning their shifts, and are assigned to use their “proactive time” between 911 calls to patrol those areas.

Very few pieces of data are needed to make predictions – the software works from just types of crime committed, location and time. No information on who committed crimes in the past or any other identifying information is included in the data set. The SPD 20/20 team worked closely on implementation of this software to ensure that it meets community expectations for privacy and addresses concerns about bias.

“We anticipate that this software will help us in our work to eliminate institutional bias in the Seattle Police Department” said 20/20 leader Assistant Chief Mike Sanford. “With Predictive Policing, we’re sending officers right to where we know the crime is, helping to take any unconscious bias out of the equation.”

Predictive Policing is currently analyzing only property crimes in East and Southwest Precincts, but the department anticipates rolling it out in every precinct in April 2013, with analysis of other types of crime soon to follow.

14 Replies to "Followup: Predictive Policing to debut in 2 precincts, including ours"

  • Westseattledood February 27, 2013 (12:42 pm)

    So, what of all the crimes in our precinct which did not get reported since 2008? Those areas will, perhaps, not be patrolled as often between 911 calls.

    People. Report the crimes you see, large or small!

  • Ms. Sparkles February 27, 2013 (12:53 pm)

    Amen WestSeattledood!

  • a February 27, 2013 (1:09 pm)

    so based on what they are saying, 90 percent of police presence will be on delridge?

  • Ordinary_Citizen February 27, 2013 (1:39 pm)

    Just wondering how earthquake predictions helps crime prediction. It sounds like life imitating art as in Minority Report. What is the funding source for this new technology? A lot of people are disenfranchised by the police so I wonder how accurate the data needs to be or if minor (as defined by the police) crimes get ignored.

  • Andy February 27, 2013 (1:56 pm)

    Where will SPD be housing the Pre-Cogs?

  • Silly Goose February 27, 2013 (1:56 pm)

    Algorithm Crime Prevention why not in 2013?

  • old timer February 27, 2013 (2:33 pm)

    Predictive policing indeed.
    What’s next – preventative detention?

  • LTW February 27, 2013 (3:07 pm)

    It makes sense to see if the strategy actually works before deciding it’s a bad idea.

  • Neighbor February 27, 2013 (3:28 pm)

    What company lobbied for this? Why can’t we rely on our local cops on the beat for this info? Is it the data entry company that pushed for these or the software company? I would rather have more officers actually on the ground than some program showing stats that any active community could tell SPD during a community meeting.

  • wetone February 27, 2013 (4:52 pm)

    I like this statement : “The Predictive Policing software is estimated to be twice as effective as a human data analyst working from the same information” said Police Chief Diaz.”
    McGinn already says crime is down 30% maybe with this new software program they can get it down another 15-30% using the same numbers. Winner !!! How about getting more cops on the streets, make arrests, charge them, and lock them up. Instead of taking there names and letting them go. All I know is there is more crime now than I have seen before in Seattle. I really don’t know what is worse the SPD or SDOT all I do know is they are both failing miserably with no relief in sight. We will be paying for their bad decisions for a very long time. One more thought maybe this new software is coming from are new camera operators ?

  • Ken February 27, 2013 (4:52 pm)

  • datamuse February 27, 2013 (8:02 pm)

    Is it the data entry company that pushed for these or the software company?
    You mean UCLA? Not exactly either of those…

  • Paul February 27, 2013 (8:23 pm)

    Computers and cameras doing all the police work… SMH… Soon these computers will have all our jobs and then when that’s not enough those computers will build robots to kill us.. Fact is stranger than fiction.. This is the technocracy the global elite are goin to use to instate their eugenics agenda! Wake up sheeple

  • jedifarfy February 28, 2013 (7:41 am)

    Everyone wants the police to be more proactive, and here’s the solution. Unless we can afford more police to patrol each and every street, this sounds like it might work out well. It will be interesting to see how effective it can be.

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