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Computer Cop Humble About His Success


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James Stewart

James Stewart, a computer scientist and crime analyst with the Saint John Police Force, helps officers track habitual offenders.

Credit: Cindy Wilson/Telegraph-Journal

The Saint John Police Force's computer scientist James Stewart has developed software that ranks every criminal violation based on severity, taking into account how long it has been since the crime took place.

The program analyzes 70,000 records and 10 years of violations, helping police develop suspect lists and intelligence. Saint John saw its third year of double-digit crime reductions since Stewart was hired as part of a broader strategy focused on intelligence-led policing.

"What we're finding is all the crime is so connected, [and] if we can drive break-and-enters and car thefts down, then all of a sudden, the arsons are down, etcetera, because it's the same people who are shoplifting during the day and doing break-and-enters at night," Stewart says.

He says the key to developing the system, and others like it, is the open process the Saint John Police Force has built around sharing ideas, as patrol officers from the streets feel comfortable to make suggestions about crime reduction and staff sergeants are open to new ideas. Stewart also has developed a repeat target vehicles program, which is aimed at targeting impaired drivers.

From Telegraph-Journal
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