Tacoma police unveil 'Crystal Ball of Crime'

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by CHRIS DANIELS / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on January 31, 2013 at 12:00 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 31 at 12:06 AM

TACOMA - Call it a Crystal Ball of Crime.  

Tacoma Police say it will help stop bad guys before they strike.
 
The department is rolling out a new software system call ‘Pred-Pol’, which uses an algorithm to define, and predict where crime could occur.  The system mines data from the past five years, and can define potential problems spots based on time of day and a 500 foot radius.
 
Assistant Police Chief Pete Cribbin says it will help his department more accurately deploy officers, especially after another round of staff cuts. He points to Los Angeles and New York as cities which have used predictive technology to help reduce property crime by double digits. Cribbin says Tacoma’s goal is to do the same.
 
Officers will start using the software in the next couple of weeks. Cribbin says a federal grant helped fund the software.
 
Rodney Mendoza lives in a North Tacoma neighborhood, which the program says is currently the most likely to have problems during the day .
 
“We’ve had about 3 or 4 disturbances,” says Mendoza, who says his home has been broken into and his car vandalized. He has high hopes the new system will lead to a winning crime fighting formula.
 
“They’re investing money in it,” he says, “I hope it pays off.”

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