Predictive Policing Symposium: The LAPD Experiment
Chief, Los Angeles Police Department
Note: The Los Angeles Police Department is one of seven agencies that were awarded a planning grant from the National Institute
of Justice. For more information on the other six, see the summary of the Discussion on the Predictive Policing Demonstration Projects
Police Chief Charlie Beck discussed how the LAPD has used COMPSTAT, intelligence-led policing and problem solving to reduce
crime over the last eight years.
Predictive analytics have been used by businesses to determine sales strategies. Wal-Mart, for example, analyzes weather patterns
to determine what it stocks in stores. The results indicate that Wal-Mart should overstock duct tape, bottled water and strawberry
Pop-Tarts before a major weather event. The Pop-Tarts represent a “nonobvious relationship” and Beck noted there are many
of these relationships in law enforcement that can be explored with predictive policing.
Beck emphasized that predictive policing is not meant as a replacement strategy, but one that will build on the successes
Colleen McCue illustrated the potential of predictive policing. For example, every New Year’s Eve, Richmond, Va., experienced
an increase in random gunfire. The Richmond Police Department looked at the when, where and what of these cases and found
that the gunfire was actually limited to certain areas of the city within a two-hour timeframe. McCue said this was not a
complicated analysis, but by looking at the data with a different eye, the department deployed resources more efficiently.
The result was a 47-percent reduction in random gunfire, a 246-percent increase in seized weapons and a savings of $15,000
with 50 fewer officers deployed.
Dr. Sean Malinowski explained that the predictive policing movement began in the LAPD seven years ago on a grassroots level.
Today, the LAPD has significant momentum for its predictive policing efforts in counterterrorism, robbery and social network
At first, crime was summarized annually. The analysis improved, and the department began to look at data monthly, then weekly
and eventually in real time. The department expects to forecast crime by 2010, resulting in smarter policing overall.
Capt. Justin Eisenberg summarized three of the LAPD’s predictive policing projects that are in different stages of development:
- Debriefing Project: Officers debrief arrestees to obtain information unrelated to the crime for which they were arrested. Officers will capture
anything that arrestees are willing to provide, including information on social networking, terrorism, bomb making and more.
This information will be used to identify nonobvious relationships. Currently, the department is finalizing a Web-based database
for the project.
- Social Networking Analyses: Specific to gang investigations, this project involves adding an identification software tool for social networking analysis
to the work that the University of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Police Department have done. The LAPD hopes to identify gang
decision cycles to remove main players from the street.
- Gang Homicides: This project involves mapping the details of gang homicides to more effectively predict future murders.
Date Created: December 18, 2009