Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 25th
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


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Santa Cruz Gives

A look at the organizations we’re asking you to support in our new holiday giving campaign


Gratitude—For Each New Morning With its Light

The full moon of Wednesday brings light to Thanksgiving (Thursday) under the Sagittarius Sun and Mercury. Mercury in Sag offers humanity the message (Mercury) of thankfulness and joy (Jupiter). No other sign represents food, music and joy better than Sagittarius (only Pisces, when not in despair). Beginning on Thanksgiving, we can list what we’re grateful for. Then we can continue the list, creating a daily Gratitude Journal. What we are grateful for always increases in our lives. On Thanksgiving Saturn/Neptune square (challenging) is in full effect. This can manifest as traditions not being honored, disappearing, falling away. It can also create a sense of sadness, confusion, of things not working out as planned. It’s best to be as simple as possible. And to focus on gratitude instead. Gratitude is a service to others. It is scientifically and occultly a releasing agent. Releasing us from the past, allowing our future—the new culture and civilization, the new Aquarian laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarius, the Age of Friendship and Equality—to come forth. Gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution for humanity and the world’s problems.” The hierarchy lays great emphasis upon expressing gratitude. Gratitude illuminates all that is in darkness. Let us be grateful during this season together. Being, for others, the light that illuminates the darkness. A Poem by R.W. Emerson: We are grateful … “For each new morning with its light/For rest and shelter of the night/For health and food/For love and friends/For everything thy goodness sends.” (poem by R.W. Emerson). I am grateful for my family of readers.


The New Tech Nexus

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


Pluck of the Irish

Mid-century immigrant tale engagingly told in ‘Brooklyn’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Second Street Café

Pies and tarts for all tastes—from traditional to adventurous


How are you preparing for El Niño?

Getting ready to buy some rain gear. Cory Pickering, Santa Cruz, Teaching Assistant


Fortino Winery

Cabernet and superb fruit wine from Fortino Winery


Tap Dance

West End Tap & Kitchen’s impressive menu to expand to Eastside location