Is data analysis why Philly homicide rate is 38% lower than last year? - Technical.ly Philly

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Jul. 18, 2013 12:52 pm

Is data analysis why Philly homicide rate is 38% lower than last year?

Is crime data analysis helping lower the city's homicide rate?
Grant Ervin, the City of Philadelphia’s Public Safety GIS director, presents at the Esri’s annual Users Conference.

Grant Ervin, the City of Philadelphia's Public Safety GIS director, presents at the Esri's annual Users Conference.

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.

Read our coverage of Innovations in Police IT here.

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.

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