The Vancouver Police Department announced that it will be using a new form of intelligence to stop crime before it happens.
No, it isn’t the formation of the Psychic Task Force. It isn’t any sort of “Big Brother” surveillance method (I think) – rather, the VPD has declared it will be the first law enforcement agency in Canada to utilize a “crime prediction model” that will tip officers off to property-crime offences before they happen.
Unsurprisingly, the public has been given very little information about what this new tool is able to do. So far, all we have been told is that it is a computerized program that was apparently very successful in its 6 month pilot project.
The program identifies both residential and commercial areas that display a high-likelihood for property crime. Surveillance areas are set up within a 100-500 meter perimeter, and officers are then dispatched to those areas for visible public presence.
The presence of police, of course, acts as a deterrent for thieves and vandals.
Interestingly enough, this comes as a further development to the 2015 crime mapping tool developed by the VPD. This interactive map is available to the public, for use by anyone interested in learning more about which areas in Vancouver are deemed higher risk. While many people attribute
While this may seem like a weak method of combatting serious and ongoing theft and vandalism, preventative measures are only deemed necessary once an issue has spiralled out of control.
Charges that police hope to see a reduction in as a result of this new preventative measure:
- Break and Enter
- Break and Enter to commit an Indictable offence
- Theft under $5,000
- Theft over $5,000
- Possession of stolen property
It isn’t unusual to see “petty” crimes, such as minor theft, escalate into more serious situations that can include violent offences as well – for example, a man breaks into a vehicle looking for valuables, but the owner of the vehicle happens to come down to his car as the crime is in progress. An altercation ensues, police attend, and the charges include break & enter, theft, AND assault. By preventing the theft, the entire situation could have been avoided.
Ideally, this tool will aid police in preventing some crimes from happening, but realistically, crimes will still occur in the areas that aren’t padded by police presence.
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