MODESTO (CBS13) — The City of Modesto has knocked what was once one of the highest crime rates in California to its lowest level in years, despite having fewer cops on patrol.
The city credits its predictive policing program, a system that helps tell officers where the next crime is likely to happen based on prior activity.
There's one small section of Modesto where business owner Nadine Rodriguez says you'll see plenty of action.
"You'll see crackheads walking down the alley here; if you step somewhere you'll see needles," she said.
But on this night, you'll see plenty of police.
"We're trying to get away from rearview policing, looking at crime that has happened," said Capt. Rick Armendariz.
Modesto Police say a program similar to those used to predict earthquakes is the key. Small red boxes on the map show a predicted hot spot for crime. The program crunches data and spits out a new top-10 list for every shift and every patrol officer.
"Telling our officers this is where you need to be at at those times.," he said.
It even tells officers what category of crime to expect.
"It looks at our crime history the last 10 years using a mathematical equation and it gives us what we call a high probability of where the next crime is going to occur," he said.
So when they're not responding to calls, officers patrol the hot zones.
It's another way to protect the streets after budget cuts took 20 officers off the streets in January. The program started at about the same time, and since then property crime has dropped to a three-year low. Residential burglaries are down 20 percent, commercial theft is down 13 percent, auto theft has dropped 12 percent and finally an 11 percent drop in robberies.
There's only one thing that's up in Modesto—arrests.
With fewer resources on the streets, it's a critical tool that's helping put cops in the right place at the right time.
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