Vancouver police ramping up efforts to prevent crime with new prediction technology

FILE PHOTO: A burglar breaking into a basement window. Getty Images

Preventing crimes before they happen? It’s an idea straight out of a science fiction movie and now the Vancouver Police Department.

The VPD will be the first police force in Canada to use a new computerized crime prediction model; which will forecast where property crimes will happen, and dispatch officers to those areas to deter thieves.

“We are always looking for new and innovative ways to help combat property crime in the city,” VPD Chief Const. Adam Palmer said in a release.

“This new predictive technology gives our front line officers one more tool to use to supplement our traditional policing methods.”

The crime prediction model provides police with data in two-hour intervals for locations where residential and commercial break-and-enters are anticipated. The information collected is for 100-metre and 500-metre zones where police resources can be sent out by foot or in patrol cars.

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The new tech was brought in after a six-month pilot study in 2016 that, according to the VPD, resulted in a “substantial decrease in residential break-and-enter”. The pilot ran from April to September in 2016 and during that time compared the number of home break-and-enters over the same period for the previous four years (2012 to 2015).

The highest drop in property crime was in June with a 27 per cent decrease.

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