Chicago Police go high-tech to pinpoint crime hot spots

Mary Houlihan
Chicago Sun-Times
Aug 9, 2010

The Chicago Police Department is working with the Illinois Institute of Technology and the Rand Corp. on an innovative project that will help pinpoint hot spots of criminal activity.

The process -- called predictive analytics -- is to analyze every violent incident and gang interaction with police to extrapolate and identify future problems. The numbers will be analyzed by experts at ITT.

"This is a paradigm shift in how the department uses information," said Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis. "It will make for smarter policing."

Launched in April, the project is funded by a $200,000 grant from the National Institute of Justice.

Weis explained how the information pinpoints the time of day and location of violent crimes. In the past, gang data were compiled on a yearly basis, Weis said.

Now any police interaction with a gang member will be fed into the system for a "real time, ongoing" account of where gangs operate.