December 26, 2011

Predictive Policing 5 Month Overview

The Santa Cruz Police Department is five months into the groundbreaking predictive policing study. We plan a full evaluation, with professors at Santa Clara University and UCLA, in January. But we've done a preliminary look at the first five months of data.  

The program predicts hot spot locations based on seven years-worth of historical data. It is updated daily and suggests patrol deployment based on a combination of historic and current data.

So, is it working?

In the first six months of 2011 before we started the project we were on pace to set a record for the number of burglaries in our city. Since we have implemented the program we are now averaging 20% fewer burglaries than in the first six months. 

How does this compare to 2010?

Compared with the same 5 months in 2010 we've seen a 11% decline in the number of burglaries. December (the six month of the study) has historically been problematic for burglaries. Vehicle burglaries tend to rise near the holidays (meaning the holidays have a higher than average monthly burglary rate). This was not the case last year but has been the case in 6 of the last 10 years. 

We are interested to see if the program can continue to reduce the overall number of burglaries in our city and we will provide the full analysis compiled by the professors (which will hopefully be completed at some point in late January). Chief Kevin Vogel, Deputy Chiefs Rick Martinez and Steve Clark and Crime Analyst Zach Friend will work with Professor George Mohler and Professor Jeff Brantingham on the final analysis.