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Overview of Predictive Policing
Law enforcement work is frequently reactive: officers respond to calls for service, quell disturbances, make arrests. Today more than ever, law enforcement work is also proactive: officers make connections and develop networks within their communities that lead to joint problem solving, they assess small problems and take steps to prevent them from becoming bigger.
In proactive policing, law enforcement uses data and analyzes patterns to understand the exact nature of a problem. Officers devise strategies and tactics to prevent or mitigate future harm. They evaluate results and revise practices and policing to improve situations. Larger departments combine an array of data with street intelligence and crime analysis to produce better assessments and make predictions about what might happen next if they take various actions.
What Is Predictive Policing? The technique of integrating data analysis with professional law enforcement expertise to understand why a problem arises and how to avoid the next problem is called predictive policing. It builds on and melds pieces of community policing, intelligence-led policing and hot spots policing.
NIJ's Role in Predictive Policing
NIJ is supporting law enforcement's efforts related to predictive policing:
- We have convened symposiums with law enforcement executives to discuss issues around predictive policing.
- We are supporting the implementation and evaluation of predictive policing in two departments.
Predictive Policing Symposium. NIJ has convened two symposiums where researchers, practitioners and law enforcement leaders developed and discuss the concept of predictive policing and its impact on crime and justice. The first was held in Los Angeles and attended primarily by larger departments. The second was held in Providence, Rhode Island, and attended primarily by smaller departments.
Predictive Policing Grants. Two agencies-Chicago and Shreveport-applied under a competitive solicitation and won awards to explore data-driven policing strategies. In phase 1, the agencies received funding to identify a problem and develop strategies to solve it. In phase 2, they are implementing and evaluating the strategies.