Birmingham Police Department seeks new software that helps predict crime

Birmingham police using new tool to predict crime

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A new year means a new tool headed to Birmingham in an effort to fight crime.

The software is called PredPol, and can help police predict certain areas where crime is more likely to happen.

The program starts first by looking a crime data for the last five years, then it narrows that data down daily.

“Every 24 hours it will update and let us know what is predicted for this particular day,” says Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith. “It will allow each precinct captain every morning to give each car a mission of where they need to be and what they need to do, and how much time they need to spend in each area."

Smith, who worked in Los Angeles before coming to Birmingham, says his staff in LA used it and saw the benefits the technology brought.

He says since coming to Birmingham in June, he feels the department has done several things to address the crime, like adding more officers to the streets, especially at peak crime hours.

“We have to do more predictive policing. We have to get more data driven and we have to get more technology in Birmingham,” Smith says.

Austin Walley and Sofia Cosper work in the city and are excited to hear of new efforts being implemented to reduce crime.

“If it worked in a place like LA, it can probably in Birmingham,” Walley says.

“I feel like this technology hand in hand with people on the ground keeping an eye out is the way to go - both pieces working together,” says Cosper.

Smith says he’d like to get it here in the next 30-60 days, depending on the budgeting and how long it takes to download the city’s information.

The chief gave more details about PredPol at a public safety meeting he and the mayor hosted.

It was held at the Boutwell Auditorium Thursday evening at 6 p.m.

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