Canadian City Joins Trend Toward Predictive Policing

Vancouver police say they are the first in Canada to use computer models to predict crime, a technology trend that has been growing in the U.K. and U.S. for the past five years.

The Vancouver Police Department says it is the first in Canada to use computer modeling to stop crimes before they happen, reports the Vancouver Sun. The department says the data analysis allows officers to forecast the location of property crime and take measures to prevent it. Full-time use of the new program follows a six-month pilot study last year that police say contributed to a substantial decrease in residential break-ins. (Predictive-policing computer models, pioneered by the LAPD, have grown in use by large police agencies in the U.K. and U.S. over the past five years.)

Vancouver says its program identifies areas where residential or commercial break-ins are likely to occur and sends officers there for a visible presence to deter thieves. The program is built on an interactive mapping tool developed by the police department in 2015 that enhanced public awareness of police activity. A version of the program plots the location of crimes on a map to provide a graphic display of trends.