RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Data mining tools can help fight crime, a RTI International research scientist writes in a new book.
“Data Mining and Predictive Analysis: Intelligence Gathering and Crime Analysis” explains how data mining information can help anticipate when and where crimes will occur, says Colleen McCue.

The information combined with predictive analytics can identify crime trends, anticipate crime hotspots, and help law enforcement officials make better use of manpower and other resources, she writes.

McCue bases the book in part on her experiences in working with the Richmond, Va. Police department. Using her data mining techniques, the Richmond police deployed officers on new Year’s Eve in 2003 in an attempt to reduce gunfire complaints. Complaints dropped more than 50 percent from the previous year even though the number of illegal weapons had increased by more than 243 percent. The department also had to deploy fewer officers for the effort, McCue said.

“The same tools that are used to stock shelves at our local supermarkets can be used to create safer, healthier communities and enhance homeland security when applied to law enforcement,” McCue explained in a statement. “With some guidance regarding a few ‘rules of the road’ for data mining, and the application of off-the-shelf software tools, data mining is well within the reach of any organization that has an interest and willingness to put more science and less fiction into crime and intelligence analysis.”