St. Louis County police using software to predict crimes

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St. Louis County police officers use the HunchLab computer program while patrolling in Jennings on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

St. Louis County police officers use the HunchLab computer program while patrolling in Jennings on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

JENNINGS, Mo. (AP) – St. Louis County authorities have begun experimenting with software to predict where crimes may happen.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that two St. Louis County police vehicles are equipped with computers with software that predicts where crime is likely to happen based on mathematical algorithms.

St. Louis County Sgt. Colby Dolly, who oversees the recently created crime analysis unit, says the software is “refining,” not replacing, hot-spot policing. Dolly says the county paid $45,000 for the contract with HunchLab for the software. The county is expected to pay about $35,000 for every subsequent year.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar says this form of what is known as predictive policing is the future for law enforcement.
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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com