NYPD Hopes To Add Crime-Predicting Software To Stop Crime Before It Happens, HunchLab Brings Minority Report Closer To Reality

In an attempt to prevent crime before it happens, the New York Police Department is hoping to pilot new crime-predicting software that will allow them to anticipate areas of crime in advance and allow for increased patrols in those areas.

The NYPD currently uses a program called CompStat, which was introduced to the department nearly twenty years ago by Bill Bratton, according to the New York Post. The current software can help to predict "hot spots," but it is not as accurate as the department would like it to be. HunchLab has developed a crime-prediction software that takes factors such as weather, special events, proximity to bars, professional sports events, and the time of day into the overall equation and determine with a level of accuracy the likelihood that a crime or crimes will be committed in the area.

Capital New York shared that the NYPD hopes to pilot the program in at least three precincts in the city over the course of two and a half years. A spokeswoman for the NYPD shared all of the factors that will be used to predict crime in an area, stating it will allow more effective responses to issues that arise.

"[Forecasts are based on]temporal patterns (time of day, day of week, day of month, seasonality); weather; environmental risk factors (locations of bars, bus stops, etc.); socioeconomic indicators; historic crime levels; and near-repeat patterns to help police departments understand and respond more effectively to crime using the resources available to them,"
Currently, the HunchLab crime predicting software is being used in Philadelphia, where the developer Azavea resides, as well as in the Miami police department.

According to a report released by the NYPD, the cost of the HunchLab software implementation is expected to cost nearly $10 million for data center improvements and $45 million for analytics and Compstat upgrades.

Azavea CEO Robert Cheetham shared that the software's predictive capabilities will not prevent all crime.

"We're not predicting where crime is going to happen any more than a weather forecaster literally predicts where rain is going to fall. If you're thinking Minority Report, that's not happening. Will this cause crime to go down in New York City? We don't have the answer to that. We believe this will give you better insight into where you can expect crime to occur in a given place and time."
The benefits of the statistics that will be received from the HunchLab software will be an immense advantage in predicting areas of crime influx, with hopeful results of fewer nefarious incidents.

[Photo by Spencer Platt / Getty Images News]