The movie "Minority Report" featured Tom Cruise as a futuristic police officer who arrests people before they commit their crime.
Back in the real world, a group of mathematicians, social scientists and crime analysts from UCLA, Santa Clara University and UC-Irvine and have formed a company, PredPol, that manufactures "Predictive Policing" software, which is supposed to be able to predict when and where a crime is likely to happen.
Police in Woodland, Calif. are using the software, which analyzes previous police reports to predict the future.
The $25,000 software supposedly gives data to police officers about high crime areas on particular days for specific crimes.
“We’re trying to use the latest technology to complement our traditional enforcement strategies,” said Woodland Police Sgt. Aaron Delao told CBS Sacramento (video below).
“During these times where we have less officers, less funding to throw at enforcement strategies, we need to use what money we do have more wisely."
The Predictive Policing software is being used in several cities, including Seattle. According to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn's website, the software tool is only as effective as the data entered into it, which are reported crimes to police.
Unreported crimes are not in the software, so it is skewed to a certain degree. Also, if police show up in a predicted crime area, it's likely criminals will see them and simply go somewhere else to commit their crime.
Critics say the Predictive Policing software could also be used to racially profile suspects and neighborhoods.