Predictive Policing

Topics: Police, Crime, Constable Pages: 4 (1317 words) Published: April 26, 2013
Predictive Policing
Paul T. Lane
Dr. Edwin Otto
14, April 2013

COMPSTAT (COMPuter or COMParative statistics) is a geographic information system adopted by the New York City Police Department in 1994 to predict future crimes. Mathematicians utilize COMPSTAT by designing algorithms to come up with future crimes for police departments. These crimes include, but are not limited to drug distribution, theft, homicide, and domestic violence. This method of policing has come to be known as predictive policing, and has proved effective in most cities.

The addition of information technology (IT) to optimize police performance has helped greatly as opposed to random street patrol. With the use of the predictive policing system, police are more effective at apprehending felons, and interrupting crimes taking place. In Santa Cruz, California, police officers were able to arrest two women who were in the process of robbing an automobile. (Goode, 2011) This arrest was made possible due to the information technology provided to the arresting officers from the program developers.

In contrast, this information technology method proves to be more efficient then the random street patrols. Random street patrol at a time where you have budget cuts (Goode, 2011) can hurt your chances to apprehend felons, and interrupt crimes taking place at any given time. The information technology known as COMPSTAT gives the team anticipated data where crimes occur at different times throughout the year. A random street patrol cannot provide this same information, and could possibly be taking police officers away from a crime in progress. While some crimes are more severe than others, a crime is still a crime. Captain Malinowski said, “Now if we have a problem, we throw a lot of cops at it, and unfortunately, with the economy being the way it is, we don’t have as many cops available.” (Goode, 2011) Captain Malinowski also went along the lines to say that his...

References: Goode, E. (2011, August 15). Sending the police before there’s a crime. New York Times. Retrieved from
Pearsall, B. (2010, June). Predictive policing: The future of law enforcement? NIJ Journal No. 266. Retrieved from
Shurkin, J.N. (2011, September 13). Santa cruz cops experiment with ‘predictive policing’. TMPIdeaLab. Retrieved from
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