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A National Discussion on Predictive Policing: Defining Our Terms and Mapping Successful Implementation Strategies

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2009
9 pages

This report summarizes highlights of the First Predictive Policing Symposium, held November 18-20, 2009, which involved a national discussion to define terms and map successful implementation strategies for predictive policing.


John Morgan presented a working definition of "predictive policing" as referring to "any policing strategy or tactic that develops and uses information and advanced analysis to inform forward-thinking crime prevention." During the symposium, speakers and participants discussed and challenged this definition and its elements. Panelists and breakout session participants suggested a number of current uses of predictive policing. These include the use of crime mapping and spatial analysis in addressing crime "hot spots," "data mining" for proactive action, police deployment of resources, statistical probability, geospatial prediction, and social network analysis. Potential uses of predictive policing were also discussed. These include the management of police personnel (professional development, recruitment, and identification of who is most at risk for using excessive force); the management of police budgets (measuring the costs of overtime and other expenditures); city or neighborhood planning (design of spaces, economic development, police and security resource allocation, and infrastructure protection); and offender monitoring. Other issues discussed in the symposium were privacy and civil liberties that might arise in the course of expanding predictive policing, how the proactive policing approach can be communicated to the community so it will be understood and accepted, and the nature of the variety of technological tools available to predictive policing and how they can be used more strategically and effectively.

Date Published: November 1, 2009