Analytics are helping police tackle crime smarter

Posted on 25 Oct 2015 by The Manufacturer

Analytics and the LAPD may not be the first thought that comes to mind, but perfectly illustrates how Business Intelligence has become a vital part of any growing organisation.

Watching BBC Horizon’s documentary The Age of Big Data recently, I was blown away by how much data analytics has changed the way we operate across all areas of our lives.

The documentary discussed the use of big data (and this was very big data) by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

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4 December, 2015: Rolls Royce, Derby

Working in conjunction with the University of California, LA, Professor Jeff Brantingham took 13 million LAPD police records, from the 1950’s to the present day, and created an algorithm able to predict where crime will occur in certain areas of the city.

Big data and mathematical equations being used to tackle crime. Sounds far-fetched, right? That was the initial perception of two experienced LA police officers, who severely questioned the method.

“How can maths be a substitute for good old-fashioned human instinct?” they asked.

Surprisingly, the algorithm is based on human instinct. The data system provides a quadrant, predicting where an expected spike in crime is likely to occur and the police respond accordingly.

After seeing the algorithm in action, both officers began to realise the benefit of a ‘big data police force’.

That change in perception is playing out across businesses and organisation across the globe, as people wake up to the advantages of big data and analytics.

Business Intelligence (BI) is a tool increasingly being deployed to interpret data in order to attain, maintain then retain a competitive advantage.

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