UK police forces have begun trials of futuristic software designed to forecast the time and place of future crimes.
The Criminal Reduction Utilising Statistical History (Crush) system uses predictive analytics to process data such as crime reports, intelligence briefings and behaviour profiles to identify crime hot spots.
The system was developed by IBM, which has invested more than $11bn in developing its predictive analytics technology for helping businesses use data to develop proactive growth strategies.
In July 2009, IBM signed a $1.2bn deal to acquire Chicago-based predictive analytics software company SPSS to boost its capabilities in the field.
According to IBM, the system is designed to enhance and improve the efficiency of existing practises by looking for patterns to work out what is likely to happen next.
Crush is being tested secretly in the UK after a successful trial in the US, where police say the system was crucial to reducing crime by31%, according to the Guardian.
Police involved in the trial in Tennessee say the system improves morale by increasing arrest rates and helping officers feel they are making a difference.
IBM plans to enhance the system's capabilities by enabling Crush to sample data from a wider range of sources, such as CCTV cameras and social networking sites.