SPD takes a page out of Philip K. Dick
at 12:32pm by David Kroman
Crosscut won’t be the first to say it nor the last: the Seattle Police Department’s new Real Time Crime Center smacks of Minority Report. But instead of sentient pre-cog siblings and Tom Cruise, there’s analysts and data.
Real-time data projected on a massive screen shows the location of every in-progress call. Each incident is color-coded as either priority 1, 2 or 3. Dotted throughout the map are also the locations of every patrol car in the city. The idea, according to developer Brandon Bouier, is that SPD can triage incidents throughout the city, allocating resources where they’re most needed.
Additionally, the department hired Cambridge-based analytics company Via Science to create an algorithm based on SPD data from as far back as January 2008 to predict spikes in crime. SPD COO Mike Wagers got a bit semantic, saying the department was “forecasting” and not “predicting,” the difference apparently being that, unlike the pre-cogs of that Tom Cruise/Steven Spielberg classic, they cannot predict the behaviors of individuals.
The Real Time Crime Center has been in operation since July, and is part of SPD’s Agile Policing strategy – essentially using data and technology to better respond to crime. According to a statement from the City, the technology is funded through crime-related assets seized by the department and a $411,000 grant from the Department of Justice.