Dutch police use big data to predict crime, manage resources

The Dutch police are now using a computer system developed by the Amsterdam police that uses large amounts of data to better anticipate and more actively respond to crime as well as to better manage available resources, ANP reports.

The Crime Anticipation System (CAS) makes weekly analyzes based on local and current data. External data about neighborhoods and residents, for example, is supplemented by the police's own knowledge about crimes and local situations and information from Statistics Netherlands. The system searches for crimes that show a pattern - for example, bicycle thefts in a certain neighborhood happen most often between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and midnight. Based on that, the police can better deploy available resources to fight these crimes more effectively, according to the news wire.

An experiment with this system in four cities showed promising results, which is why the police are introducing the system nationwide. 94 basic police teams now use the system for their own neighborhoods. The goal is that all 168 basic teams use the system by the end of the year. 

According to Rene Melchers, national project leader for the CAS system, the Netherlands will be the first country to use this form of predictive police policy. He calls the system "promising", but adds that it needs further development. "It is difficult to show the results with figures, because it is not clear how many crimes are prevented. If the analysis shows that there is a lot of muggings at a certain point, the police perform surveillance there so there fewer muggings", he said.