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Data mining and predictive analysis for crime prevention

SPSS : 04 December, 2008  (New Product)
SPSS is working with police departments to use their statistical and data warehousing software for predictive analysis for more effective crime prevention
Hundreds of police departments around the globe are enhancing "who-done-it" crime fighting techniques with an innovative 21st century approach of applying Predictive Analytics technology to thwart criminal activity.

Today, police agencies are being asked to do more with existing capabilities as budgets are being dramatically reduced. For example, in the United States, federal funding for local police budgets has been slashed 81 percent since 2001 - according to the US Conference of Mayors. Predictive Analytics plays a key role in successfully forecasting criminal activities and determining the best action to take by allocating limited resources and deploying personnel to protect against violent crimes, burglary and auto theft.

SPSS Predictive Analytics data and text mining, data collection and statistics software enables law enforcement agencies to anticipate criminal behavior by quickly analyzing massive amounts of incident data - along with current and developing conditions, such as weather, time of day, city events or even paydays - to ensure the safety of citizens and officers.

Bill Haffey, technical director for the public sector at SPSS, said, "SPSS Predictive Analytics software has become integral to law enforcement agencies in identifying, predicting, responding to and preventing criminal activities. By analyzing past criminal behavior patterns and then mapping their anticipated future occurrence, police departments are able to deliver critical real-time information to the field, allowing for appropriate deployment of forces."

The Memphis Police Department (MPD) is proactively fighting crime with a data-driven approach. It uses Predictive Analytics for enhanced crime analysis by mapping, identifying and linking precinct level and citywide crime "hot spots," such as outside of a concert or in a specific area of town; and crime trends, such as car burglary on a rainy night. In one specific hot spot, MPD reduced robberies by 80 percent by incorporating SPSS Predictive Analytics.

MPD analyses crime patterns, trend maps and hot spot maps, along with data on police call logs, to identify and understand where clusters of robberies occur. By anticipating criminal activity, the organization is able to better deploy resources, including directed patrol, targeted traffic enforcement, task forces, operations, high visibility patrol and targeted investigations - all leading to crime reduction.

Larry Godwin, director of the MPD, said, "We are now able to better use our resources to address the needs of our citizens and more effectively fight crime. Predictive Analytics software has also allowed MPD to improve communication with policymakers and our citizens concerning crime in the city, our efforts to address it, our evolving needs to improve capacity, and the effectiveness of our efforts.

"This communication is enhanced because of our ability to provide information about specific crimes that are occurring, in specific areas of the city, on specific days of the week, within a two hour slice of time. In other words, Predictive Analytics allows MPD to direct resources at the most effective location, on the most effective date, at the most effective time," Godwin said.

Also, the Richmond Police Department saw a 30 percent decrease in murder rates and a 20 percent decrease in rape between 2006 and 2007 by using SPSS Predictive Analytics software.

The agency uses SPSS Predictive Analytics to predict and map crime to understand that if criminal behavior follows an identifiable pattern (time, place, past histories, circumstances), it can use those factors that characterize the criminal act to predict its occurrence and improve the safety of Richmond citizens.

Additionally, The Macon Police Department in Georgia is creating safer neighborhoods by reducing gun crime in alignment with the federal initiative, Project Safe Neighborhoods. Working with Applied Research Services, a national consulting firm specializing in criminal justice research, Macon has been able to allocate funds and put a stop to gun crime by identifying the most violent and high-risk gun offenders.

Every time an offender is arrested or convicted of a crime, they are entered into the state's Criminal History Records Repository. Applied Research Services is using SPSS Predictive Analytics to mine this data and identify a small group of offenders with extensive gun crime 'careers.' The analysis provided from SPSS Predictive Analytics allows Macon to stay informed of new criminal activity among this group - allowing the criminal justice system to better focus law enforcement and prosecution resources on the most chronic and dangerous gun offenders.

Worldwide, hundreds of borough, city, county, state and provincial government entities including The Netherlands Police Agency (KLPD) and Regiopolitie Groningen in the Netherlands, and West Midlands Police and Greater Manchester Police in the United Kingdom use SPSS Predictive Analytics software to combat crime and gather citizen feedback. It is also used to detect fraud, collect taxes, combat cyber-security attacks, and support syndromic surveillance and border security.
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