You have undoubtedly seen the ad (on TV or YouTube, depending on your medium of choice): a police officer grabbing a cup of coffee checks his watch, heads for his squad car and begins a quick drive across town; not far away, a burglar also checks his watch and begins a similar drive. When the burglar reaches his destination, a convenience store with a clerk setting aside the money from the day’s business, the officer is leaning against the hood of his squad car, sipping his coffee.
IBM’s pitch? Through predictive analytics, it is able to help police analyze crime data, spot patterns and determine where best to deploy patrols. The company says it has helped some U.S. cities cut serious crime by up to 30 percent. The Memphis Police Department is a case in point. In 2005, the MPD worked with the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Memphis to create a predictive analytics system called Blue CRUSH (Criminal Reduction Utilizing Statistical History), which charts and analyzes crime patterns. It’s not exactly the “PreCrime” system of the Tom Cruise movie, Minority Report, but the predictive enforcement tool has helped the department identify crime trends and assisted precinct commanders with the deployment of their limited resources.
IBM has noted that with dwindling budgets affecting all major cities, predictive analytics could help all first responders better use their existing data to reduce costs. Since Blue CRUSH was deployed across Memphis, for example, it has reduced serious crime by 30 percent and violent crime by 15 percent.
The ad is part of IBM’s Smart Cities series. Big Blue has been demonstrating for some time now that cities already possess data they can use to develop insight into a host of issues. Much like with first responders, they can “monitor, measure and manage” the data that drives complex systems in modern urban life to make better decisions, anticipate and resolving problems proactively, and coordinate resources to operate more efficiently.
You’ll find more on Smart Cities at https://canadiangovernmentexecutive.calibrary/3251/ibm_smarter_cities.pdf