Police to use “Minority Report” style crime prediction software

Darren Allan

July 26, 2010

UK police are looking beyond conventional crime tackling means, and are even trialling software which attempts to predict crime.

In a move which has shades of Minority Report – minus Tom Cruise leaping off buildings and through windows – two UK police forces have begun testing out this specialised software, The Observer reports.

The “Crush” system – Criminal Reduction Using Statistical History – has access to a ton of data, including crime records, patterns, profiles of offenders, and even the weather. It weaves these various data sets together, and attempts to pinpoint hotspots where crimes are most likely to occur.

The idea is that police can then allocate resources appropriately, skewing manpower towards those areas where trouble is more likely to occur.

The technology is known as “predictive analytics”, and The Observer states that it’s being trialled in the UK following some success over in the States.

Memphis witnessed a 31% fall in crime (and 15% reduction in violent crime), with Crush being a “key factor” behind this improvement in a long term trial. Interesting indeed.

Crush is the brainchild of IBM. Now all the police need is to get Microsoft’s Kinect installed in incident rooms around the country, so they can do all that Minority Report style arm waving stuff to navigate through computer menus, and they’ll be golden. Perhaps.


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