The BBC documentary follows people who mine Big Data, including the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) who uses data to predict crime. It's proven that historical patterns can be used to predict future behavior. With a database of over 13 million crimes spanning 80 years and real time continuous updates, the LAPD has applied mathematical algorithms and pattern recognition to identify crime hotspots. Targeted police work has resulted in a 26% decrease in burglaries and a 12% decrease in property crimes.
How does this work? In the same way that earthquake aftershocks can be predicted, data miners analyzed historical crime statistics including location and timing. They found patterns in the big data crime landscape. By tracking the history, timing and location of crimes, they revealed that the probability another crime would occur in certain locales was higher. They discovered patterns in the data. In this case, the rate of crime and geospatial distribution of events were excellent predictors of future behavior including pinpointing small geograpic areas which they used to direct police resources.
Today, these predictive aftershocks are becoming more accurate through the use of real time data feeds, alerts, geospatial analysis and temporal analysis. Over 150 cities in the US are starting to apply these techniques allowing police officers to anticipate, focus, apprehend and therefore lower risk.
Thanks to KD Nuggets for providing the link to the BBC video which is very well done.