Digital Cops, Digital Robbers

Montgomery PD tries predicting crime


By CBS-8 Reporter
By Tim Lennox

Mr. Marks, by mandate of the District of Columbia pre-crime division I'm placing you under arrest for the future murder of Sara Marks that takes place......"

Cruise's character was able to predict who was going to commit a crime, and arrest them before it happened.


CBS-8 cameras were allowed unprecidented access to a recent Montgomery Police "comstat" meeting. Commanders at the meeting tried to connect the dots in the tera-bites of information that pours into the department every this case, info about the home invasion of representative jay love's inlaws home.:We have a liaison we talk with on a regular basis and through their investigative leads and our assistance and also the community we did make arrests behind it...."That morning, the information had resulted in a second arrest in the case...neither suspect has gone to trial yet. Major Terry Jett is commander of the special operations division:You have to filter what is good information and what is bogus still have to need as much as you can get because what sounds like it is bogus may turn out to be what you needed in the first place."That's exactly what helped police arrest four suspects in an online scam involving bogus Craig's List ads early this year. Major Jett found the critical clue when he re-interviewed a burglary victim who had responded to a craig's list ad for a tv for sale:She suspected that her house was broken into the day after she spoke with these people so she suspected hey were the ones who might have broke into her home..."Then they found several other people who had responded to the ad....and been robbed at gunpoint:The police set up a sting operation by answering the ad and agreeing to meet the suspects at this parking lot on vaughn road.... four suspects were arrested on multiple counts of armed robbery, burglary and conspiracy. the montgomery police say there would have been more victims of the scam had they not gathered the information about the craig's list ad and acted on it.The suspects in the craig's list scam have not yet gone to trial. During a major investigation into a series of gang murders in montogmery in 2011, police used tips, street cop intelligence, and especially social media to stay ahead of the criminals. it turned out the murders were the result of a gang feud involving rival rap groups...they posted videos like this one online and that helped cops predict the gang's likely next moves... and arrest eleven suspects. The next move for the police? public safety director murphy wants to tap into higher education's ability to crunch the data----to help make science fiction as portrayed in the cbs drama person of interest..... "I want you to figure out what's going to happen..and stop it from happening..."... science fact! we want to take that academic, analytical methodology and apply it to local law enforcement. we believe it will have a serious impact" You can't solve a case in front of your might help you but the best information is from the public.and citizens, that's where we solve the majority of our cases".Ironically, the morning before I interviewed them, here at my home at three o-clock in the morning, I spotted a prowler crouched right next to this shrub. from my car I picked up my phone and called 911.You did the right called 911. now we have reasonable suspicion..he was crouching behind a shrub at three a-m. why?"My call to 911 was just another piece of information in the huge digital data stream that the Mmurphy hope will keep their officers one step ahead of the bad guys. Public Safety Director Murphy is talking with a-u-m about the project, and perhaps u-a-b in the future.











Chief murphy and director murphy say citizen involvement is key to predictive policing.








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