Reading police 1st in Northeast to predict, deter crime with PredPol software

Author: , Reporter, LKilmer@wfmz.com
Published: Oct 17 2013 06:12:07 PM EDT
READING, Pa. -

Police in Reading on Thursday unveiled new technology that they believe can predict crime before it happens.

"It's really going to be able to enhance our ability to fight crime and to provide a safer Reading and safer streets," said Mayor Vaughn Spencer.

Spencer was joined by Reading police Chief Bill Heim when introducing the new "PredPol" software tool.

Heim said the program uses historical and current police data to develop crime trends and predict where and when criminal behavior may occur.

Heim said officers will then up patrol in those specified areas. He hopes the software will particularly assist investigators in cases of property theft.

"We think this'll be a really good tool for us, to help us reduce those incidences," said Heim.

City residents who spoke with 69 News on Thursday said they hope the software works.

"That's good. They'll probably step up their game," said Lauren Rauth.

While the department has been utilizing the software for roughly only one month, police suspect future success.

According to Heim, Reading's is the first police department in the Northeast to use PredPol and will test it as part of a two-year contract.

Heim said the software was purchased through a federal grant.