Fighting Crime with Analytics

Analytics is being used in a number of different industries; however, there may be none more important than the analytic work being performed by the Memphis Police Department. With the help of IBM software, the police department is using analytics to reduce and control crime in Memphis.

With traditional policing practices unable to thwart a rising rate of criminal activity and budgets tight, the Memphis PD pioneered a way to focus their patrol resources more intelligently. By recognizing crime trends as they are happening, MPD’s predictive enforcement tool gives precinct commanders the ability to change their tactics and redirect their patrol resources in a way that both thwarts crimes before they happen and catches more criminals in the act.

Director Larry Godwin realized that the MPD’s existing practices weren’t working to stem a steady rise in Memphis’s crime rate, he realized that there were no “silver bullet” solutions. His willingness to experiment and break cultural barriers opened the door to solving the problem. “You can have all the technology in the world, but if you don’t have the leadership and the guts to make some changes, you probably won’t succeed.”

It may be hard to believe but the analytics system deployed by the MPD is truly working. In fact the crime reduction statistics are remarkable.

  • 30% reduction in serious crime overalll
  • 36.8% reduction in crime in one targeted area
  • 15% reduction in violent crime
  • 4x increase in the share of cases solved in the MPD’s Felony Assault Unit (FAU), from 16 percent to nearly 70 percent
  • Overall improvement in the ability to allocate police resource in a budget-constrained fiscal environment.


As you can see, the results of the analytics data and predictive modeling are astonishing. Imagine if police departments nation or world-wide deployed these systems. The ability to analyze data does not have to end with marketing research, there truly is no end to the good that analytics could do for communities as a whole when put into the proper businesses and communities hands.

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