Harperdog with this excerpt from a story about using statistics to fight crime: "It’s great when cops catch criminals after they've done their dirty work. But what if police could stop a crime before it was even committed? Though that may sound like a fantasy straight from a Philip K. Dick novel, it's a goal police departments from Los Angeles to Memphis are actively pursuing with help from the Department of Justice and a handful of cutting-edge academics. It's called 'predictive policing.' The idea: Although no one can foresee individual crimes, it is possible to forecast patterns of where and when homes are likely to be burgled or cars stolen by analyzing truckloads of past crime reports and other data with sophisticated computer algorithms. 'We know where crime has occurred in the last month, but that doesn't mean it'll be there next month,' Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Sean Malinowski says. 'The only way for us to continue to have crime reduction is to start anticipating where crime is going to occur.'"
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