The Philip K. Dick Academy of Law Enforcement

This isn’t Seattle crime exactly, but the LA Times has a great article on “predictive policing,” which could very well make its way to Seattle some day.

So just read it and don’t give me any lip, alright. It’s Friday.

Besides, the story has the best lede that I’ve read all week:

The future of crime fighting begins with a story about strawberry Pop-Tarts, bad weather and Wal-Mart.

With a hurricane bearing down on the Florida coast several years ago, the retail giant sent supply trucks into the storm to stock shelves with the frosted pink pastries. The decision to do so had not been made on a whim or a hunch, but by a powerful computer that crunched reams of sales data and found an unusual but undeniable fact: When Mother Nature gets angry, people want to eat a lot more strawberry Pop-Tarts.

Los Angeles police are using the anecdote to explain a similar, but far more complicated, idea that they and researchers say could revolutionize law enforcement.

[…]

“The naysayers want you to believe that humans are too complex and too random — that this sort of math can’t be done,” said Jeff Brantingham, a UCLA anthropologist who is helping to supervise the university’s predictive policing project.

“But humans are not nearly as random as we think,” he said. “In a sense, crime is just a physical process, and if you can explain how offenders move and how they mix with their victims, you can understand an incredible amount.”