IT helps trace patterns of crime

Computerised crime anal-ysis is an important technique to help police tackle crime and criminals, according to a Home Office report.

The report details the ways information technology systems can be set up and used to provide vital information on the patterns of crime in a particular area.

The report guides police on local crime analysis and the issues they should consider when setting up systems for collecting and analysing data.

Home Office Minister David Maclean said: "Information of crime patterns is a vital ingredient in the designing and evaluation of crime prevention initiatives.

"It is also an invaluable management tool in matching resources to high volumes of particular crimes such as burglary, car crime and vandalism in particular areas."

However, critics of such data analysis systems say that police officers are likely to be wary of a predictive system whose logic is hidden from them unless the accuracy of the algorithms which generate these patterns is proved.