Predictive policing is the use of analytical techniques to identify promising targets for police intervention with the goal of preventing crime, solving past crimes, and identifying potential offenders and victims. These techniques can help departments address crime problems more effectively and efficiently. They are being used by law enforcement agencies across the United States and elsewhere, and these experiences offer valuable lessons for other police departments as they consider the available tools to collect data, develop crime-related forecasts, and take action in their communities. This guide is one in a series of resources sponsored by the National Institute of Justice to help police departments develop strategies to more effectively prevent crime or conduct investigations. It provides assessments of some of the most promising technical tools for making predictions and tactical approaches for acting on them, drawing on prior research, information from vendors and developers, case studies of predictive policing in practice, and lessons from the use of similar techniques in military operations. It also dispels some myths about predictive methods and explores some pitfalls to avoid in using these tools. Predictive policing is a topic of much enthusiasm and much concern, particularly with regard to civil liberties and privacy rights. As this guide shows, these tools are not a substitute for integrated approaches to policing, nor are they a crystal ball; the most effective predictive policing approaches are elements of larger proactive strategies that build strong relationships between police departments and their communities to solve crime problems.
Predictive Policing: The Role of Crime Forecasting in Law Enforcement Operations