IUPUI researchers working on technology that would detect crime before it happens

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Researchers at IUPUI just got a huge crime fighting grant. They plan to use the past to help them predict the future.

The $791,513 three-year grant was awarded by the Smart Connected Communities Program of the National Science Foundation.

"The idea is that we will build a software application that can predict when and where different types of societal harm events will occur," said IUPUI computer & information science associate professor, George Mohler.

Mohler and his team will use data from crimes that have already happened and develop a system to track future crime. Like when and where will car accidents, overdoses, and homicides happen in the city. Think of artificial intelligence meets public safety.

"The police will have access to this application and so if I'm an officer about to go on my patrol beat for the first two hours I may focus on one type of social harm in a particular area of the city and the next two hours I may shift my focus on a different type of harm," Mohler said.

Using IMPD crime data, the team with devise algorithms to analyze it. While IMPD has identified crime hot zips in the city, researchers say this software would be even more specific.

"If I go out and tell you to patrol a zip code that's a huge area. How are you going to know where to go? What we give is something by a hundred meter square area of the city this is a very small area. Maybe one block. And that really allows police to focus their resources," Mohler said.

The community would also be equipped with this tool.

"So it may be that we don't have enough police officers to always patrol your neighborhood but if you have a neighborhood watch group maybe you could use this information to also help reduce societal harm in your neighborhood."

The team will also work with IMPD, the mayor's office and community partners to develop and test the software.