Alex Steer

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Predictive crime analytics, Victorian style

189 words | ~1 min

PSFK (along with others) reports on the adoption by two British police forces of IBM's CRUSH system. CRUSH (Criminal Reduction Utilising Statistical History) 'analyzes parameters like crime records, offender profiles and intelligence briefings to look for patterns and identify potential areas where a crime may occur'. It's interesting stuff.

This kind of predictive analytic cartography isn't new, though. Charles Booth showed a similar range of interests when making his London Poverty Map in the late 1890s. Booth was part of a generation of analytically-minded social reformers who gave Britain an insight into the geography of deprivation. His colour-coded classification of London streets shows that his interest extended beyond mapping poverty to understanding its effects. He describes the black-shaded areas as 'Lowest class. Vicious, semi-criminal'.

The image below shows the area round Borough High Street, where I used to work.

Section of Booth's London poverty map

# Alex Steer (27/07/2010)