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Seattle Police Using Data-Driven Program To Prevent Property Crime

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

The Seattle Police Department is using a new software program designed to help predict where crimes are most likely to occur in the city.

For now the so-called predictive policing program is being used to reduce property crimes in the east and southwest precincts. SPD hopes to begin using it in other areas of the city later this year.  

SPD says the software utilizes existing crime data to predict days and times where crimes are likely to take place. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn says that will help them decide how many police to put where. He told reporters, “Our aim with data-driven policing is to minimize the influence that unconscious bias can have on these decisions. With this software we can take that out of the equation.” McGinn says that the program is twice as accurate as a human analyst.

The program cost $73,000, plus  $45,000 a year to maintain. McGinn says that’s about the cost of a new police officer.

The city of Tacoma has also recently begun using the program.