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Met's Minority Report: They use computer algorithms to predict where crime will happen

[ 2013-09-30 11:26] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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In the Tom Cruise movie Minority Report, the year was 2054 – but it seems the reality of police predicting crimes before they happen isn’t so far away.

In the Tom Cruise movie Minority Report, the year was 2054 – but it seems the reality of police predicting crimes before they happen isn’t so far away.

The Metropolitan Police is investing in technology to forecast where offenders will strike next.

In an initiative that echoes the hit film in which a ‘precrime’ department detains murderers before they kill, the force is using computers to map out where future burglaries are likely to take place.

Computer algorithms combine crime statistics and criminal behavior models to produce ‘predictive areas’ where burglars and muggers are likely to target.

Officers are then deployed to those areas, which cover a radius of no more than 250 yards, to act as a deterrent or even catch the villain in the act.

Analysis suggests the computer algorithms are ‘seven times more accurate than chance’. A pilot scheme saw ‘significant reductions’ in burglaries in Hackney, Wandsworth, Newham and Lewisham.

Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe now wants to use the technology to tackle antisocial behavior and vehicle crime and extend its use across the capital.

The system was developed in America from the same kind of calculations used to predict earthquakes.

It analyses times, dates, and places of crimes and predicts how many are likely to be carried out if the trend continues.

Scotland Yard is working with University College London on the system. Professor Shane Johnson, of UCL’s department for crime science, found burglars’ tactics closely match the behavior of wild animals searching for food.

He said like animals, burglars return to sites they have found productive but move on when they realize supplies are exhausted.

The 'predictive area' often covers a specific set of streets and so allows police to attend with near enough pin point accuracy.

Evaluation of the system so far indicates that the information in the maps gives police a seven times better chance of being able to catch criminals and some London boroughs showing significant reductions in burglaries.

Initially the system, known as PredPol, was received skeptically by some senior police officers who were uncertain of how academic research and data might work in real-life crime fighting.

But similar schemes have also been piloted in Kent, Great Manchester , West Yorkshire and the West Midlands with promising results.

In Medway, Kent, the scheme was credited with causing a six per cent fall in street violence over a four-month trial last winter.

Meanwhile in Manchester, burglary fell nine per cent between May 2010 and May 2011 but in Trafford, where predictive policing was used, the drop was nearly three times that at 26 per cent.

And results from Leeds and showed similarly impressive results.

Professor Shane Johnson of UCL's department for security and crime science said the most important element in the system was the fact the crime hotspots constantly change.

He said: 'The risk of crime is higher in some places than others but does not occur in even the riskiest places all the time, and sometimes occurs in low-risk neighborhoods.

'The challenge of pinpointing when crimes will occur at particular locations is the aim of predicting policing - it's no longer possible to throw overtime at problems.

'The police have got to work a bit smarter.'

Predictive policing originated in America and is based on the principle of drawing conclusions based on the large scale analysis of criminal behavior.

All 43 forces in England and Wales are now being encouraged to adopt this approach to allocating their resources by the College of Policing, the new professional body that sets police standards.

Rachel Tuffing, the college's head of research, said she expected most forces to be using such schemes within five years.

She said: 'The maps alone cannot reduce crime but they can be used to allocate resources to the areas with the greatest risk of future crime.

'It's the classic Minority Report, trying to prevent crime before it happens.'

(Source: Mail Online)


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