Crime software may help police predict violent offences

Two British police forces have begun trials of a sophisticated computer software package which aims to boost their efficiency by predicting where and when future crimes will take place, The Guardian reports.

The system, known as Crush (Criminal Reduction Utilising Statistical History) evaluates patterns of past and present incidents, then combines the information with a range of data including crime reports, intelligence briefings, offender behaviour profiles and even weather forecasts. This is used to identify potential hot spots and flashpoints, so police forces can allocate resources to areas where particular crimes are most likely to occur.

The software behind the system has been developed by global computing giant IBM, which sees the increasing use of analytics as a massive growth area for the future and has invested more than $11bn in the field in the past four years. The names of the two UK forces using the software have not been revealed.

Critics say the use of such technology is an affront to human rights and
could destroy centuries of legal precedent, leading to a generation who
are innocent only until predicted guilty. While supporters point out
that at present, such analysis and decisions are made by individuals
prone to making mistakes and unable to take into consideration the
wealth of information a computer can deal with.


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