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DOJ Pushes Predictive Policing

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By Kamika Dunlap on December 03, 2009 11:55 AM

Predicative policing is the latest law enforcement tactic which combines cutting-edge crime analysis and other information to forecast where crime may pop up next.

This week Los Angeles is hosting the country's first symposium on Predictive Policing. It is organized by the Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).

Several law enforcement agencies nationwide are already using predictive policing models.

For example, LAPD has topped 10,000 officers for the first time, crime is down and police are using less serious force. The department is working to shed its past culture of brutality and racism.

As a result, city residents overwhelmingly approve of the department's work.

The goal is to use policing technology to optimize crime prevention strategies.

Attending the symposioum are police chiefs, federal law enforcement experts, and criminal justice researchers who hope to push the national dialogue about predictive policing and its future.

The era of data-driven law enforcement began in the early 1990s in New York City. It was there that police chief William Bratton sought to impress newly elected mayor Rudolph Giuliani with a radical approach to policing that came to be known as CompStat.

CompStat put an emphasis on leveraging accurate and detailed data with police man power.

Last year, the North Carolina legislature voted to fund the Criminal Justice Law Enforcement Automated Data Services (CJLEADS) project. It's designed to reconcile and integrate data that's spread out across many systems and agencies so that known offenders don't slip through the crack.

The FBI also is trying out the new model. The agency recently launched a more comprehensive data-sharing initiative, a national data warehouse of crime report information.

Law enforcment experts say integrating data from all levels of law enforcement local, state, and federal will be the biggest challenge to ensure data quality and accessibility.

Predictive policing technology looks to be a serious part of law enforcement's future.

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