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Analytics help Homewood reduce overall crime

A snippet of the software Predpol that Homewood Police have been using since the middle of 2015.
A snippet of the software Predpol that Homewood Police have been using since the middle of 2015.
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Homewood Police Sergeant John Carr, and other officers at the Homewood Police Department, remember the days of sitting around with paper reports and marking maps with different pen colors to denote robberies and other crimes.

Those days are long gone thanks to a software the department has been using for the past couple of years. The software is called Predpol. It uses analytics, logarithms and other data to predict where and when crime will occur. The department started using the software back in the middle of 2015, and since 2016 overall crime has been reduced by 30%. On Monday night, Homewood City Council renewed the contract for the software for another year.

Carr says the software is just part of the reason for the dip in crime.

"Our chief has dedicated resources that we have never had here to combat crime," Sgt. Carr says. "We have maintained that 30% through the end of last year. Overall, 30% is a pretty big deal, particularly on those four main crime categories that we really track because those are the crimes we see most frequently."

Police use the software to track the city's four most prevalent crimes: burglary, vehicle theft, robbery and unlawful breaking and entering into a vehicle.

Carr says the software gives the department hot spots that show the density of crime and where it occurs. He also adds that it helps show what times the crimes occur and helps the department allocate their resources in the most effective way possible. According to the software, crime is down nearly 20% compared to the previous time last year.

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"It is just another tool that we use to try to protect our citizens and the people that come to do business here and the business owners," Sgt. Carr says. "We are a smaller city, but our daytime population spikes, and having stuff like this gives us an area and the capability to kind of focus on different areas we may not have realized without the software."

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