Santa Cruz Policing Model Proves To Have Some Early Success

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Santa Cruz police

Santa Cruz police motorcycle officers. (City of Santa Cruz)

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SANTA CRUZ (KCBS) – Authorities in Santa Cruz are reporting some early success in a new model of policing in which they predict where crimes will occur before they happen.

For three weeks, Santa Cruz police have been using the “predictive policing” model, patrolling areas of the city based on historic crime data.

Santa Cruz police spokesman Zach Friend said that they have had some good early results, as the new model has been accurate over 70 percent of the time. What that basically means is that when the model has told an officer to be at a certain location, a crime was either in progress or had been reported more than 70 percent of the time.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

Friend said that when officers head out, they download the predictive policing data for that day.

“It allows during their specific free patrol time, when they’re not obligated on another call, to concentrate some of their efforts,” Friend said.

Those efforts have resulted in one arrest and several contacts with suspicious individuals.

Dr. George Mohler, a Santa Clara University assistant math professor, helped city officials create the “predictive policing” model. He said that it’s still too early to call it a success.

“You need six months of data to account for statistical variation and assess whether the method is actually reducing the crime rate or not,” said Mohler.

But Los Angeles police aren’t waiting around to find out, as the department plans to begin using the model within the next two months.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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