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Software helps Seattle police predict time, location of crimes

Seattle police are digging deep into crime statistics to help predict, within city blocks, where crime will happen. (AP Photo/file)

Seattle police are digging deep into crime statistics to help predict, within city blocks, where crime will happen.

Mayor Mike McGinn says police will use knowledge of crime hot spots and the new computer analysis to reduce crime and avoid racial profiling.

"We're going to use data in ways that remove bias from the equation and also make our streets safer," says McGinn.

The software developed by UCLA is called "Predictive Policing." McGinn says crime and location data, dating back to 2008, is entered into an algorithm with a resulting prediction of where crimes are likely to take place, within a small geographic area, including a date and time.

The data driven policing is among the 20 police reforms spelled out in its 20/20 reform plan.

The mayor claims that the computer generated predictions about crime have proven twice as effective as that of human analysis.

For now, data driven policing is analyzing property crimes in two Seattle precincts and police plan to expand its use in all precincts with other crimes as well.

About the Author


Tim Haeck is a news reporter with KIRO Radio. While Tim is one of our go-to, no-nonsense reporters, he also has a sensationally dry sense of humor and it will surprise some to learn he is a weekend warrior.

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