Rutgers Professors to Help Police Deploy Technology that Predicts Where Crime Will Likely Happen

Rutgers Professors to Help Police Deploy Technology that Predicts Where Crime Will Likely Happen

Grant enables criminal justice professors to deploy "risk terrain modeling" technology in six police agencies nationwide

Risk Terrain Modeling

Rutgers criminal justice professors are helping six police agencies nationwide deploy a technology that predicts where crime will likely happen.

The technology, a theoretically grounded and empirically based approach called risk
terrain modeling (RTM), marries historical information about crime hotspots
with a variety of factors endemic to threatening areas, such as
building vacancies, population density, area illumination, and proximity to
ex-offenders’ residences, to create a map that highlights locations at
greatest risk for crime.

Armed with a reliable picture of regions that
are prone to attract criminals, public safety professionals can make
informed decisions on how best to deploy resources to help quell
disturbances and offenses before they actually occur.

With a
two-year, $500,000 grant from the National Institute of Justice,
Professors Leslie Kennedy, Joel Caplan, and Eric Piza will be using RTM to assist police agencies in
Arlington, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; Colorado Springs, Colorado;
Glendale, Arizona; Kansas City, Missouri; and Newark, New Jersey. RTM
will help these agencies define high-risk environments and measure the
extent to which allocating police patrols to those areas affects the
frequency of new crime events.

“Risk terrain modeling is a
smarter way to address public safety issues,” comments Kennedy. “It is
far more effective and efficient to be proactive than reactive to
threatening situations.”

Kennedy, Caplan, and Piza have focused on
RTM research for the past four years, with much of the results of their
research posted on RCPS’s website at
to make it more readily accessible to end users. “Our research has
global impact,” notes Caplan. “More than 5,000 free downloads of manuals
on RTM have been made available to individuals of both police and
non-police disciplines residing on nearly every continent.”

addition to the free downloads, the researchers conduct webinars on RTM,
have partnered with the Rutgers Division of Continuing Studies in New
Brunswick, New Jersey, to offer public safety professionals courses on
the subject, and are developing software to automate the procedures for

Media Contact: Helen Paxton