Santa Cruz Police Using Computer Program to Predict, Prevent Crime

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'Predictive Policing' Goal: Reduce Crime

Friend said the program told officers where a crime was likely to occur as well as when and the type of crime based on analyzing and detecting patterns of past crime data. The information changes as new crimes happen and that data is entered into the program.

"Think of yourself as a police officer," Friend said, "and you have limited amount of patrol time. ... This guides them in a very specific way in that free time of where to go."

Friend said that Santa Cruz police have more than 26 square miles of area to patrol. "If you can get your beat down to such a small area and know to make a few pass-throughs, it makes it much more efficient," he said.

"We have one very simple goal here," Friend said. "That's to reduce crime. It's not to arrest people. It's to deter and prevent crime from occurring."

Jesus Ayala contributed this report

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