Predicting Crime After 9/11

Computer guru Brett Goldstein was stuck at Midway Airport on 9/11 when the second plane struck the World Trade Center. “We were watching CNN when it hit,” Goldstein says of that terrible day in 2001. “It planted the seed in my mind.”

At the time, he was an executive with OpenTable, a restaurant-reservation tech firm. “I thought: 'When I am done with OpenTable, maybe it's time to do my duty.' ” That time came for Goldstein in 2006.

He had already passed the Chicago Police Department's entrance exam, struggled through the rigors of the training academy, then hit the streets as a rookie in the crime-ridden Harrison District on the West Side. After working in a beat car, Goldstein was moved to police headquarters, where the computer skills that he'd honed in the business world were quickly put to use.

Things have worked out well for Goldstein. On Aug. 16, the 36-year-old cop was promoted to director of the department's new Predictive Analytics Group, a $150,000-a-year job that puts him in charge of an increasingly important part of police work: forecasting where and when crimes will occur throughout the city.

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