Is crime data analysis helping lower the city’s homicide rate?
As of June 30, there had been 115 homicides in Philadelphia. That’s a 38 percent drop since this time last year and “the lowest midyear total in nearly half a century,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, since 1968.
That’s a big change from the alarm that was ringing in the early, violent days of 2012.
While that improvement is tied to a number of factors, it focuses on how the Police Department fights crime by tracking patterns and crunching data. Two of the most recent tech and data-focused developments at the Police Department have been the new crime mapping system, launched in the fall, and the year-old, 24-hour Real Time Crime Center.
It’s important to note that academics have long debated the macro influences on crime — including things like weather and economics — and questioned how much impact local police tactics can have. That said, the movement of predictive analysis and community policing might likely have short-term, tactical influence, giving greater credence to interest in data process.