Predictive policing, proactive service

By PoliceOne Senior Editor Doug Wyllie
For more coverage of IACP 2010, visit

Lincoln (Neb.) Police Chief Tom Casady — whose agency patrols a city of about 75 square miles and protects a population of a quarter of a million people — sees a the potential for predictive policing to lead to the end of one paradigm in law enforcement that’s been omnipresent for many decades. He highlighted his belief by posing a rhetorical question to the attendees at IACP 2010 in Orlando.

“What is the number one activity of police officers in U.S. cities? What is the number one thing that they do?” Casady paused before answering his own question. “It’s driving around aimlessly, burning fossil fuels, waiting for the next call from the dispatchers. For those of you in the room who are Chiefs, how many times have you heard your officers say, ‘We’re going from call to call to call’ and you know that that’s not true. There is an awful lot of driving around aimlessly waiting for something to happen. I don’t think this can last.”

Innovative, Effective, and Inexpensive
It’s certainly not news to state that police agencies of every size across the United States are facing diminishing budgets and increasing demands for police services. It’s equally well known that tax revenues for most cities and states have gone down or remained flat, while the cost of doing business for police agencies has increased. Casady, along side co-presenter Jim Mallard of the Arlington (Texas) Police Department, showed that predictive policing can be used by just about any size agency to help alleviate the budgetary burden and actually increase the effective outcomes of your agency’s efforts.

“We’ve got to use our resources more effectively,” Casady explained, “and that means targeting our efforts more intensely on efforts that do not involve simply driving around waiting for something to happen. We’re going to be forced to do more with less, and predictive policing has the potential to help us be more productive and more efficient.”

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