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Archive for March 27th, 2014

 

Using Big Data to Identify and Prevent Crimes

Thursday, March 27th, 2014 by

Predictive analytics tools have helped major corporations gain consumer insights, using them to drive profit growth and marketing campaigns. On the other end of the spectrum, law enforcement agencies on the national and municipal levels are using Big Data to identify and predict criminal behavior. Surveillance capabilities aside, the new techniques may discourage so-called “bad behavior” throughout the United States.

A Neighborhood Watch sign in a community.

A Neighborhood Watch sign in a community.

An example of success 
The Wisconsin State Journal reported that Madison, Wisc., police authorities consulted with analysts in the surrounding areas in anticipating a December crime wave that would sweep the University of Wisconsin’s College Court area. Apparently, once students leave for winter break in December, law enforcement officials receive numerous burglary reports.

The news source noted that three crime analysts are employed by the Madison Police Department. Operating through a cloud server, the professionals are able to help officers prioritize their efforts. The unit has been with the organization for nearly 10 years, garnering headline-worthy attention when one analyst helped a detective identify patterns in a string of bank robberies that occurred earlier this year.

Caleb Kelbig, one of the data experts working with the authorities, told police in Madison and surrounding cities that the perpetrator could hit 1 of 11 possible targets on the afternoon of March 5 or 6. Amazingly, the robber appeared at one of the locations in Middleton, Wisc., at about 2:30 pm on March 5.

Prioritizing intentions, citing appropriate uses
Jignesh Patel, an expert in Big Data use and a professor at UW-Madison, noted that cloud computing has made predictive analytics tools easier to use. Developments in IT have also opened up new avenues through which digital information can be collected. For example, smartphone software has contributed significantly to the data-gathering trend.

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