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Can A Mathematician Predict Future Santa Cruz Crime?

Posted on in Criminal Defense
Can A Mathematician Predict Future Santa Cruz Crime?

CBS television used to air a drama called Numb3rs. The television series involved a fictional character that was college professor and mathematician named Charlie Eppes. He assisted the FBI in investigating crime. Now the Santa Cruz Police has announced an idea strikingly reminiscent of the TV series. The agency says it will team up with a college professor of mathematics who says he can mathematically predict future crimes.

Santa Clara University assistant professor Dr. George Mohler says that offenders tend to return to places where they have been successful in the past. Taking algorithms developed for predicting aftershocks after an earthquake the mathematician says he can forecast future crimes. He says he used data from several years of California burglary cases to test his theory.

Police say they hope the algorithms in Dr. Mohler's theory will help to predict what KSBW-TV calls "after-crimes" are likely to occur in the future. Dr. Mohler's theory reportedly is derived from data created in sociological and criminological research.

Santa Cruz Police recently released maps of "hot-spots." The department says that the maps only show locations where past alleged crimes already occurred. Santa Cruz Police reportedly hope the professor's theory will help them predict future crimes-before they happen.

Santa Cruz Police believe that they will be the first law enforcement agency in Northern California to use crime forecasting in deploying officers. Santa Cruz law enforcement reportedly has turned over a decade of crime data to the professor. Dr. Mohler expects to provide the department with results of his analysis of the Santa Cruz crime data in roughly one month.

Source: KSBW The Central Coast, "Can Crime Be Predicted?," 10 Jan 2011

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