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Baltimore and Chicago police chiefs swap notes on predictive policing

Posted at 4:36 PM, May 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-16 18:35:06-04

Police think they can stop crime, by predicting it.

It involves technology, a lot of data and a computer algorithm but analysts then develop maps with 500 square foot areas where they think crime will strike next.

It seems far-fetched, but police in Chicago have been using it since last year and say it works to the tune of about a 30 percent reduction in gun crime.

"Look, I am 100 percent behind the technology we implemented,” said Superintendent of Chicago Police Eddie Johnson, “And I think the men and women out there in the field are doing what we expect them to do."

Johnson swears by it.

Today he was in Baltimore to see the two predictive centers BPD set up here.

As we explained in our in-depth report last week, predictive policing will start soon.

Baltimore would be the third major city to come online and Johnson says he is excited to see it.

"I was impressed. They've duplicate what we are doing and they are taking it a step further. I like the technology they put in there and ya know let’s face it, we developed a great relationship with Baltimore over the last couple of years so I am glad that they are utilizing it and using it and hopefully it will help them drive down violence also."

Baltimore's acting police commissioner is convinced.

"I believe in it,” Gary Tuggle said, “It works, we know it works."

While former commissioner Kevin Davis first brought predictive policing to Baltimore and Darryl De Sousa was about to implement it, Gary Tuggle says he is committed to oversee its launch.

"We have to use those tools that we already have on our toolbelt and that’s data,” Tuggle said, “We got data that we often generate ourselves. We just need to look at it in a very methodical way and use it so that we can try to get ahead of what might happen in our communities."

Tuggle swapped notes with Johnson today over a Faidley's crab cake at Lexington market.

It has been a week of turmoil for the Baltimore Police Department, but acting or not, both chiefs believe this philosophy is bigger than one administration.

"The end game is to make both of these cities better,” Johnson said, “It's bigger than the superintendent or commissioner. These things should fundamentally keep going after all of us are long gone."

These predictive policing centers are scheduled to go live next month in East and West Baltimore.