Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Jan 29th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The Art of Prediction

altSANTA CRUZ > Time magazine recognizes SCPD for its crime-predicting technology

Last week, the Santa Cruz Police Department’s newest technology was named one of the “50 Best Inventions of 2011” by Time magazine. The technology, which has been in use since July, can help officers prevent crimes before they occur.

The department’s predictive policing program is similar to the technology used to predict earthquake aftershocks. The program uses past data and mathematical algorithms to generate crime “hot spots.” Each morning, the program provides officers with 10 500-square-foot areas where crimes are most likely to occur. The police department has already made eight arrests as a result of the technology. But, according to police spokesman and crime analyst Zach Friend, that’s not the point.

“Arrests aren’t the focus of it,” says Friend. “The point is to deter crime, not to arrest individuals.”

Thus far, the police department has been pleased with the results. For the first six months of 2011, Santa Cruz was on pace to set the record for the most burglaries in the city’s history. But the department has seen significant improvements since they put the technology in place.

“We’ve been faced with a pretty strong up tick in the number of thefts and burglaries,” says Friend. “But since we’ve implemented the program, they’ve begun to decline.”

The increase in crime, coupled with the department’s budget issues, made issuing the technology a no-brainer.

“There’s no cost to us to adopt it,” says Friend. “Given the budget cuts, it would be difficult to hire additional officers, so we wanted something that wouldn’t cost anything more, but would still help us address the issues.”

The technology was developed by Santa Clara University’s Dr. George Mohler, along with a team of researchers and mathematicians from UCLA. The Los Angeles Police Department was the first agency to provide the team with data, but Santa Cruz is the first city to actually implement the technology. The LAPD began using the technology two weeks ago, and Friend and Lt. Bernie Escalante visited Los Angeles last week to help the officers make the transition.

In January, the SCPD and Dr. Mohler’s team will do a statistical analysis of the program to judge its effectiveness. But in the meantime, the police department will continue using the technology to patrol the streets. At least anecdotally, it seems as though the program has been effective and has been received positively by police officers.

“So far, all signs point to us continuing the program,” says Friend.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Throwing It All Away

Everybody’s for recycling, right? So why are we all doing it wrong? Our reporter gets down and dirty to uncover 10 secrets that will finally make the recycling process make sense

 

Aquarius Calling, Humanity Rising

Aquarius (11th sign after Aries) is the sign of service—serving one another, building community. Aquarius is fixed air, stabilizing new ideas in the world. When new ideas reach the masses the ideas become ideals within the hearts and minds of humanity. Air signs (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius) are mental. They think, ponder, study, research, gather and distribute information. For air signs, education and learning, communicating, writing, being social, tending to money, participating in groups and creating sustainable communities are most important. One of the present messages Aquarius is putting forth to the New Group of World Servers is the creation of the New Education (thus thinking) for humanity—one based not on commodities (banking/corporate values) but on virtues. Humanity and Aquarius Aquarius is the sign of humanity itself. We are now at the beginnings of the Age of Aquarius, the Age of Humanity (rising). The “rising” is the Aquarian vision of equality, unity, the distribution and sharing of all resources and of individual (Leo) creative gifts for the purpose of humanity’s (Aquarius) uplifting. This is the message in the Solar Festival of Aquarius (at the full moon) on Tuesday, Feb. 3. We join in these visions by reciting the World Prayer of Direction, the Great Invocation.Tuesday’s solar festival follows Monday’s Groundhog Day, or Imbolc (ancient Celtic fire festival) the halfway mark between winter solstice and spring Equinox). The New Group of World Servers (NGWS) during these two days are preparing for the upcoming Three Spring Solar Festivals: 1. Aries Resurrection/Easter Festival (April); 2. Taurus Buddha/Wesak Festival (May); and 3. Gemini’s Festival of Humanity (June). Aquarius and the new and full moons together are the primary astrological influences behind all of humanity’s endeavors. The NGWS are to teach these things, calling and uplifting humanity. Join us everyone. (301)

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Job Insecurity

Woman fights for her job in thoughtful, life-sized ‘Two Days One Night’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Jeffrey’s Restaurant

Why quick and friendly service matters at a local diner.

 

If you didn't live in Santa Cruz, where would you be living?

I would live in Kauai because the water is warmer, and I just love it there. Maureen Niehaus, Santa Cruz, Dental Assistant

 

Clos LaChance Wines

Pinot Noir 2012

 

Striking Gold

A taste of Soquel Vineyards’ five gold medal-winning Pinots