Predicting crime

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – It sounds like something out of the movies, predict where and when a crime can happen. But the Riley County Police Department says they do everyday.

“It does help officers find areas in town that need maybe just a little more attention,” said Officer. Curt Steel, with the Riley County Police Department.

It is called Initiative Laser Point and the science behind it? Analysts map out data and predict the areas officers need to be in to either prevent a crime or be there when a crime happens.

“Are there patterns based on the day of the week, the time of the day where it’s occurring. is it a specific area like a shopping center or apartment buildings. So we look for those patterns so that we can try to be there the next time it occurs,” said Jeremy Riley, crime analyst.

It is basically predictive or evidence-based policing.

Here’s how it works, officers are sent to an area like this one where they patrol and talk with residents for 15 minutes. If officers stay for 15 minutes, it’s been proven that it can prevent crime in the area for up to 2 hours.

Riley County Police Department has been doing Initiative Laser Point since February of 2010. In four years, crime is at a five year low.

“It’s not going to be 100%, so really what it comes down to is probability,” said Riley.

RCPD is currently focusing on burglaries and theft of property. They have been able to determine some of the more problem areas, like Aggieville. They also focus on apartment complexes, anywhere that is densely populated.

Bottom line, “it does help officers find areas in town that may need just a little more attention,” said Officer Steel.

RCPD says they plan to expand the program into other areas of crime prevention.

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