Justice bureau deploys more predictive analytics software

The Justice Department has deployed additional predictive analytics tools from SPSS in an effort to find culprits of crimes nationwide.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics, which collects, analyzes and disseminates information about crime, offenders and victims for federal, state and local policy-makers, has begun using the software to analyze and produce reports on important crime-related data.

The bureau uses the software to analyze crimes with similar characteristics to determine whether the perpetrators of one might be suspects in others, said Arlene Garcia, vice president of North American public-sector sales at SPSS.

The bureau collects and analyzes data from Justice's forensic crime labs, local law enforcement agencies and some court cases.

“If you are a criminal that has been involved in multiple crimes and you use a revolver as your weapon, you’re going to be clustered with those people who show exactly the same characteristics,” Garcia said. The software can identify members of a cluster who deviate from the norm, she added, such as a criminal who usually uses a revolver but occasionally brandishes a shotgun.

The bureau’s analysts collect the data, analyze it using SPSS, and then publish and disseminate information based on the model derived from the analysis.

Garcia said Justice has been a SPSS client for about 10 years, while the bureau has used the company’s products for six and a half years.

Local law enforcement agencies are also using the software to find patterns in crime data, she said.

For example, Garcia said the Richmond, Va., Police Department used the software to better determine where potentially major crimes would occur during certain times so they could better deploy their officers. She said the department was able to significantly reduce the number of officers it needed during some holidays by deploying them in what they considered to be higher crime areas.

Atlanta’s police department used the software to link suspects with certain incidents. When a crime matched what a particular suspect was doing or had done in the past, the department was able to call and question those suspects.

Marc Brailov, SPSS’ senior director of corporate communications, said the predictive analytic software market – including data mining and business intelligence -- is projected to reach $3 billion by 2009.

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