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Alhambra Police Unveil Crime Crystal Ball

The old expression of “there’s never a cop around when you need one” may soon be a thing of the past, as a result of police having a computerized crystal ball that helps them predict criminal activities.

The Alhambra Police Department rolled out cutting-edge crime technology called Predictive Policing or called “PredPol” for short which will predict and forecast future crimes in Alhambra.

 

“PredPol technology gives officers the best chance to be in the right place, at the right time, to stop crime before it occurs while at the same time helping to reduce crime, cut costs, and increase accuracy when officers patrol their beats,” according to a city press release.

Alhambra will be the first City to implement this technology department-wide in all of Southern California. The Los Angeles Police Department is currently utilizing PredPol in some of its divisions, but not yet across the entire City.

“PredPol does not replace the experience and intuition of our great officers, but is rather an invaluable added tool that allows our police force to use their patrol time more efficiently and helps stop crime before it happens,” said Chief Mark Yokoyama. “

This technology offers an excellent crime-fighting solution that will ultimately make Alhambra safer.”
Alhambra police say they are faced with a trend in rising crime, specifically involving burglaries and car theft. Alhambra Police Department sought new technologies to add to their arsenal of crime fighting strategies in an effort to be proactive in addressing crime issues, said Chief Yokoyama.

Police said that within the first 3 weeks of using PredPol an Alhambra officer was patrolling an identified area for car burglaries and found a car burglary in progress, which led to an immediate arrest. The department has also found crimes occurring in the identified areas as had been forecasted, thereby validating the predictions and have also made associated arrests for other crimes while in the forecasted areas.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Alhambra,” said Jeff Brantingham, PredPol co-Founder and UCLA Professor of Anthropology. 

“When we designed PredPol, we wanted to create an affordable tool that would be easy to use by a police officer and assisted law enforcement in an already challenging job.  PredPol does just that and allows Alhambra to utilize technology that was once only accessible to large cities.”

Developed over a period of six years by cops, mathematicians, criminologists and anthropologists, PredPol is a predictive policing program that looks at burglaries and car thefts and other crimes in a similar manner as predicting aftershocks from an earthquake.

Agencies that have deployed the PredPol tool have seen marked reductions in targeted crimes.  PredPol gives medium sized cities like Alhambra access to complex, large analytic capabilities normally only available to big cities or massive corporations.

The inputs are straightforward: previous crime reports, which include the time and location of a crime.  The software is informed by sociological studies of criminal behavior, which include the insight that burglars often ply the same area.

The developer of the internet crystal ball, PredPol,  is a cloud-based software company headquartered in Santa Cruz, California, that builds on computer science and anthropological research carried out at Santa Clara University and the University of California, Los Angeles.  It increases the rate of accuracy in predicting crime, and has helped significantly reduce crime in cities that have implemented the technology.  For more information, visit www.predpol.com.

Source: City of Alhambra press release.

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