Published in AI

Crime prediction software is useless

by on04 October 2023

Tarot cards are more accurate

Crime predictions generated for the police department in Plainfield, New Jersey, rarely lined up with reported crimes, according to an analysis by The Markup.

Crime prediction software. Geolitica,  which was known as PredPol until a 2021 rebrand, produces software that takes data from crime incident reports and produces daily predictions on where and when crimes are most likely to occur.

The Markup examined 23,631 predictions generated by Geolitica between February 25 and December 18, 2018, for the Plainfield Police Department.

Each prediction from the company's algorithm indicated that one type of crime was unlikely to occur in a location not patrolled by Plainfield PD.  In the end, the success rate was less than half a per cent.

Fewer than 100 of the predictions lined up with a crime in the predicted category, which was also later reported to police.

Predictions specifically for robberies or aggravated assaults that were likely to occur in Plainfield and found a similarly low success rate: 0.6 per cent. The pattern was even worse when we looked at burglary predictions, which had a success rate of 0.1 per cent.

Last modified on 04 October 2023
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