A recent article from Math in the News titled Preventing Crime with Math discusses the work of University of California-Santa Clara Professor of Mathematics George Mohler. Mohler has applied an algorithm used in modeling seismic activity to crime in Los Angeles. The model developed by Mohler models burglaries and gang violence.

According to the article, crime is similar to seismic activity in that it is initially difficult to predict, but is usually followed by smaller “afterschocks”. The model uses the algorithm to compute which houses are likely to be struck by a burglar given their initial crime. This model has been considered so effective that the Santa Cruz Police Department is working with Mohler to adapt the model for their use.

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