News: Data-Crunching Program Guides Santa Cruz Police Before a Crime -

25 August 2011 12:19 AM CDT

This is incredible.  And an incredible example of big data in use.  The Santa Cruz police department has loaded eight years of crime data into a massive database.  The data is geographically specific to 500 foot by 500 foot portions of Santa Cruz.  Working in conjunction with academia and technologists they have developed software to analyze the past in order to predict criminal behavior in the future.  Every morning police officers in Santa Cruz are given a list of times and locations where they should patrol.  And, so far, the program has helped reduce crime.  It seems fairly straightforward - if a particular block in a rough neighborhood often experiences high rates of crime on Tuesday's and Thursday's between the hours of 8PM and 11PM then you should add police at that location and time.  Using a big data set and statistics seems to be paying off for the Santa Cruz police department.