Crime Computers Are Helping Drive Down Violent Crime

21:01  08 january  2018
21:01  08 january  2018 Source:   Newsweek

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How much violent crime is there in the United States? In 1992 there were 6.6 million violent victimizations, including 141,000 rapes, 1.2 million robberies, and 5.3 million assaults. 4.9 million households, or 5% of all households, had a member victimized by violence during 1992.

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Police in America’s largest cities are using predictive computer programs to calculate where and when violent crimes will be committed, driving the murder rates there to historic lows.

On Sunday 60 Minutes reported Chicago is using such software to drive down the murder rate, predicting who is most at risk of being a victim of violent crime and most at risk of committing them. Last year in New York City and Los Angeles the software aided police in driving their murder rates to historic lows.

The crime data from these big cities contradicts President Donald Trump’s claim made in early 2017 that "the murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years.”

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  Computers Are Helping Drive Down Violent Crime © Provided by IBT Media

“I’d say that in a speech and everybody was surprised, because the press doesn’t tell it like it is,” Trump said February 7, 2017 during a roundtable with county sheriffs. “It wasn’t to their advantage to say that. But the murder rate is the highest it’s been in, I guess, from 45 to 47 years.”

In 2015 there was an uptick in the murder rate across the U.S. and again in 2016. However, the latest data indicates those years may be a blip in a decades-long downward trend.

Data from New York last year shows there were just 290 murders in America's largest city compared to 335 the year before. That’s also a significant reduction from 2,262 in 1990 when a record number of people were killed there.

In Los Angeles last year there were 281 murders down from 294 in 2016 and a far cry from the 1,094 who were killed in America’s second largest city in 1992.

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Crimes statistics for the first half of 2015 show violent crimes in Phoenix are up while property crimes are slightly down . Trent Crump of the Phoenix Police Department, two categories of violent crimes are driving the numbers That is when Nick Voss helped create the St. John’s Alliance Block Watch.

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“No one believed it was possible to get under 300 murders,” said New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio in a news conference with the NYPD last Friday. “The NYPD reached the goal that no one thought possible.”

All these cities have been using predictive policing computer programs—reminiscent of the Tom Cruise film Minority Report—that take in data about crimes to determine where and when violent crimes will happen. This allows police to deploy where they’re needed most.

High levels of violence persist in some U.S. cities, including Philadelphia and San Francisco, which both saw murders increase last year. Yet end of year data in America’s largest cities shows fatal crime levels falling.

In Chicago, which has been cited repeatedly by Trump for its high rate of gun violence, the number of murders dropped in 2017 to 650 from 771 in 2016 after the city introduced a combination of predictive policing that tracks who is likely to shoot and get shot and a series of sensors and cameras that can detect gunfire.

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“The goal of this operation is: Keep people alive. That's number one. Number two, keep 'em outta prison and jail,” said Chris Mallette, executive director of the Chicago Violence Reduction Strategy, to 60 Minutes.

The arm of the program that identifies those at risk of being the perpetrators or victims of crime is a $3 million combined effort between the Chicago Police and the Illinois Institute of Technology.

“We try to identify the subjects who are most at risk,” said Chicago Police Commander Kenneth Johnson to 60 Minutes. Under the program, people arrested or named as victims in Chicago are issued a risk score.

Through the Chicago Violence Reduction Strategy police then pay a personal visit to those people based on their risk level of being a shooter or victim and guide them on how to seek help from their community.

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