The new software doesn’t predict who is going to commit the crime, as was the case in the movie Minority Report, but it attempts to predict where the crime will be committed. USENET newsgroup subscribers are currently discussing George Mohler, a mathematician at Santa Clara University, who developed a program that uses the locations of crimes previously committed to determine potential crime areas.
Newsgroup subscribers state that the idea is that if a burglary occurs at one residence, it could occur over the next few days at a nearby residence, too. Equations that are used to predict aftershocks for earthquakes were used as a basis for the program. Dates and times of crimes are now used to predict future crimes.
The new program flags about 10 potential crime areas for three types of crime: residential burglary, auto burglary and auto theft. New data is inputted every night to calculate the likelihood of crimes the next day.
Later this year the software will be tested with the Los Angeles police department in a controlled experiment. The software will be used as it’s being used in Santa Cruz, but only half of the locations flagged will be patrolled.
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