U of S President Peter Stoicheff, Minister Responsible for Corrections and Policing Christine Tell, and Saskatoon Police Deputy Chief Bernie Pannell at the launch of the Predictive Analytics Laboratory (screenshot from Global Saskatoon).

Predictive analytics

Thursday marked the official launch of the Saskatchewan Police Predictive Analytics Laboratory, a research partnership between the University of Saskatchewan (U of S), the Government of Saskatchewan and the Saskatoon Police Service (SPS).

The lab, which began operating in November, applies advanced statistical analysis to information from police databases (data are stripped of personal identifiers to retain anonymity). The goal is to find patterns that could help predict behavior and trends.

For example, the lab's first project, the Missing Persons Initiative, targets children and youth at risk for running away from home. It is hoped data analysis will reveal common factors that cause runaway behavior. This knowledge could point to the most promising ways police and community partners can intervene to help at-risk young people.

The lab is located at a secure SPS facility. In addition to social issues, the lab is suited to examining a range of other data such as violent and repeat offenders and offenders with mental health issues. It is designed to handle data from local police as well as policing agencies across the province and country, to allow for future expansion. Its highly secure design may also allow application to other sensitive data sets such as health and social services.

See more at Global Saskatoon.
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