Predictive Policing in Top 50 Inventions

Time Magazine picked Santa Cruz’s predictive policing model as one of 2011’s Top 50 inventions. The magazine said the computer model helps the department get ahead of bad guys.

“We are honored to be recognized by Time Magazine for our predictive policing program” Police Chief Kevin Vogel said. “Innovation is the key to modern policing and we’re proud to be leveraging technology in a way that keeps our community safer.”

The predictive policing program looks at burglaries and car thefts in a similar manner as predicting aftershocks from an earthquake. It was developed by Dr. George Mohler of Santa Clara University and a team from UCLA.

Police analyst and spokesman Zach Friend read about it in a magazine and asked the mathematicians to try it here. In each day’s police briefing, officers are given a list of 10 sites where crimes are most likely to occur. The program does not cost the agency anything.

Santa Cruz has been using it since July and the department says crimes in the two categories have gone down. It is now being used by the Los Angeles Police Department.