New York Police Commissioner William Bratton, who introduced computer-driven performance management (CompStat) to policing, is credited with envisioning how predictive policing could help fight crime, says Governing magazine. In 2011, the Los Angeles Police (which Bratton also headed) used predictive analysis to cut property crime by 12 percent in one neighborhood. Bratton suggested that predictive policing could have a real impact when used in conjunction with existing policing techniques, such as community policing.
Cops have used statistical data and geospatial analysis to forecast crime levels for years. As analytical tools have become more sophisticated and data sets larger, the ability to forecast crime has grown more nuanced. Not everyone believes technology can accurately forecast crime; Some point to the random nature of criminal offenses. Still, a growing body of evidence points to patterns in how and when crimes are committed. Eliminate some of the guesswork and police agencies can direct their manpower where it's needed. “Predictive policing is another extremely popular technology when you have limited resources,” said Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation. “It becomes extremely valuable when you can predict where to put your resources to be the most valuable and effective.”