Predictive Policing

Evaluation of the Pilot Project P4 in Baden-Württemberg/Germany

In response to increasing rates of domestic burglary in Germany over the past few years, police and policy-makers are attempting to determine new ways to stop or, ideally, reverse this trend. In this context, methods of predictive policing are being applied and tested in some of the federal states of Germany. On October 30, 2015 the Pilot Project Predictive Policing P4 was started in Baden-Württemberg. Coordinated by the State Office of Criminal Investigations, the project was conducted in the police departments of Karlsruhe and Stuttgart. As in Bavaria and some areas of Switzerland, the computer software PRECOBS (offered by the German company 'Institut für musterbasierte Prognosetechnik') was employed to predict near-repeat burglary events and to apply subsequent target-oriented operational planning.   

The project was designed to produce open-ended and unbiased results and therefore included an external scientific evaluation conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law. Automatically generated predictive policing data were analyzed to obtain assessments of practicality and information concerning crime preventive aspects. In addition, semi-structured interviews with the police officers operating the software and an online survey with more than 700 participants were carried out.

The results have been published in an evaluation report (in German). An English text, summarizing the main findings, has been published in the European Journal for Security Research (open access).


Project category: Research project
Organisational status: Departmental project
Project time frame: Beginning of project: 2016
End of project: 2018
Status of Project: ongoing
Project language(s): German / English
Structure: Predictive Policing, Crime Prediction, Near-Repeat, PRECOBS

Head(s) of project

Contributors / Researchers

  • Hannah Straub, M.A. [Email]

The English version will be available soon [German version].

Publications (selection)

  • Gerstner, Dominik: Predictive Policing in the Context of Residential Burglary: An Empirical Illustration on the Basis of a Pilot Project in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. In: European Journal for Security Research (2018).
  • Gerstner, Dominik: Using Predictive Policing to Prevent Residential Burglary. Findings from the Pilot Project P4 in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. In: European Law Enforcement Research Bulletin - Special Conference Edition Nr. 4 (in print), 0-0.
  • Gerstner, Dominik: Predictive Policing. Theorie, Anwendung und Erkenntnisse am Beispiel des Wohnungseinbruchdiebstahls. In: (Un-)Sicherheiten im Wandel - Gesellschaftliche Dimensionen von Sicherheit/Ellebrecht, S./Kaufmann, S./Zoche, P. (eds.), Münster (2018/im Druck), LIT-Verlag, 0-0.
  • Gerstner, Dominik: Predictive Policing als Instrument zur Prävention von Wohnungseinbruchdiebstahl. Evaluationsergebnisse zum Baden-Württembergischen Pilotprojekt P4. Freiburg, edition iuscrim, 2017, 97 S.
    Volltext (10 MB)

  • Last update: 24 September 2018
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