BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Inundated by senseless crime, the spotlight continues to shine on Baltimore as violence rips the city apart.
Last year, Baltimore saw 343 homicides, and more than 80 percent of the victims and suspects had prior criminal records.
Desperate for answers, city leaders are now embracing what’s known as predictive policing.
“We have to get the community’s buy-in with this,” says recently sworn-in Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa. “And it’s critical that the community trusts us.”
It’s a computer software that stirs up algorithms predicting where and when crime may happen.
“The whole concept behind predictive policing is to get in front of the crime before it even occurs,” says De Sousa.
The maps will show small red squares as targets, deploying officers to those hot spots, telling them where to be exactly and for how long.
Rick Ritter: So the goal isn’t how many suspects can you take into custody?
De Sousa: Correct.
Rick Ritter: It’s how many crimes you can prevent?
De Sousa: If we have to make an arrest, than we didn’t do our job properly.
The program helped turn crime around in Los Angeles and is now driving down violence in Chicago.
But some are still skeptical.
Rick Ritter: For people out there who think this is going to bring us back to that old style of policing that drew a lot of outrage in this city, what would you say to that?
De Sousa: 100 percent not. I know and I’m very familiar with what zero tolerance brought to Baltimore City.
He emphasizes it’s all about positive engagement with the community and denying criminals opportunity.