Blue CRUSH ‘Minority Report’ Analytics Project Headed for UK

July 27, 2010

(ChattahBox)—Our criminal justice system has certainly not reached the level of the fictional “Precrime” police unit in the Sci-Fi thriller “Minority Report” starring Tom Cruise, but the expansion of a computer program that predicts crimes, may be the start. The Blue CRUSH (Criminal Reduction Using Statistical History) project began in Memphis, Tennessee, to great acclaim, reducing crime by 31 percent. Now, two British communities are giving the predictive analytics program a trail run.

According to the report by the Guardian, the CRUSH program allows law enforcement to better coordinate resources and cooperation between federal agencies, as well as giving cops a heads-up on criminal hot spots.

The software analyzes and coordinates multiple databases searching for patterns, including crime statistics, intelligence briefings, criminal profiles and weather reports, to pinpoint potential high-crime areas.

“The technology, which belongs to a fast-growing field known as “predictive analytics”, is being tested secretly in the UK following a successful long-term trial in Memphis, Tennessee, where the police department credits Crush as the key factor behind a 31% reduction in overall crime and a 15% fall in violent crime. The system has also been credited with improving morale among officers of the Memphis police by boosting arrest rates and helping them to feel as if they are “making a difference.”

Predicting criminal patterns seems to be the wave of the future in law enforcement circles. Washington, DC uses a similar database to stay one step ahead of parole violators.

“IBM has worked with the city of Edmonton, Alberta on a program similar to the Memphis project; other vendors, including Information Builders and Microsoft, offer law enforcement-friendly analytics. In another example, the District of Columbia uses tools and software from SAS to identify and manage parole violations and other law enforcement issues.”

And so the age of machines continues.


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