Reading cops use software to predict where crime will happen

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     A view of downtown Reading from the 5th Street Bridge near Centre Avenue. (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)

    A view of downtown Reading from the 5th Street Bridge near Centre Avenue. (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)

     A new concept in policing is showing some promise in Reading, Pennsylvania. 

    It’s called PredPol, predictive policing software and Reading Chief William Heim says it’s responsible for a 23 percent drop in burglaries, even though he has 45 fewer police officers to patrol the streets. 

    “It doesn’t send the officers where crime has recently occur it sends them to places where it’s predicted that crime will occur so we can prevent it,” he said.  

    Linda Kelleher of the College Heights Community Council in Reading says she’s seen a difference since the cops began using predictive policing. 

    “In the winter months, especially around Christmas we see a sharp uptick in burglaries, and that has been reduced this year,” she said. 

    Chief Heim says he’s ready to renew the contract for the software, although he is not disclosing how much it costs.

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