Operation Swordfish Software Takes a Stab at Crime Prevention, P2

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We are continuing our discussion from our last post about a software program that researchers and developers hope will prevent property crimes. The idea is to identify the locations of burglaries and send officers to the victims’ homes within the first 24 hours. Research showed that burglary victims are often victimized a second time very soon after the first break-in, and that their burglary points to an increased risk for each of their neighbors and their neighbors’ neighbors.

As we said in our last post, the victim receives a safety and security audit and some tools from the officers who visit. Next, officers visit the immediate neighbors and tell them that a burglary occurred nearby and explain how they believe the suspect gained entry into the home. These households will also receive advice on how to make their homes safer and, if needed, will get some of the same gadgets offered to the victims.

Finally, officers visit the neighbors of the immediate neighbors and give them advice about preventing crimes like burglary. The emphasis with all of these visits is on how not to be a victim.

This is the “target hardening” phase of the effort. The next step involves some more complicated programming.

The researchers discovered that burglaries have a pattern that correlates to the types of streets in a neighborhood. The software program analyzes the area based on that pattern and identifies vulnerable areas. Officers then have a map of specific parts of town that require more frequent patrols or just a larger police presence.

Overall, the Predictive Policing experiment will help law enforcement agencies work smarter, according to a representative. Working smarter should help likely victims protect themselves and their property while helping police use their own resources in a more cost-effective and efficient manner.

Source: AOL News, “Police computer to stop crime before it happens,” Sarah Coles, Sept. 19, 2012

We help individuals who have been accused of crimes like burglary. If you would like to find out more about our practice, please visit our Raleigh criminal defense page.