Police trial pre-crime data unit

The police force is employing ‘Minority Report’-style techniques to try to predict when a burglary might take place, using predictive analysis software more normally associated with direct marketing campaigns.
West Midlands Police are testing a pre-crime unit, dubbed Operation Swordfish, in conjunction with the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science, UCL.
With more than 8,000 burglaries in the Birmingham area last year, the aim is to cut this by at least 15%.
The programme works by inputting various data in relation to where a burglary has taken place – including the local landscape, house access, and property type – and links it with existing crime data.
For instance, once a house is burgled once not only is that property a high risk to be burgled again within a week, but also their neighbours and their adjoining neighbours too.
Professor Shane Johnson of the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science, UCL, said: “We take data from the police and run it through our systems. This generates a map which can then predict where and when a crime is most likely within the following few days. The police can then deploy resources to that area.”
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