NY Police Computer Predicts Robbery

In the movie Minority Report, Tom Cruise plays a detective who uses computer system that gets input from psychics to predict murders before they happen. The film is based on science fiction writer Philip K. Dick's remarkable 1956 short story of the same name. Now, real-life detectives are using computers to predict crimes before they happen.

Lt. James McLaughlin of the Yonkers, New York police department Technical Support unit used a regular computer to analyze patterns in robberies in southwest Yonkers. According to the computer's analysis, there would be a robbery between 8 p.m. and midnight on Wednesday on South Broadway.

"He predicted it and he was right," Police Commissioner Robert Taggart said.

Anthony Jimenez, 17, of Gastonia, N.C., and Richard Pino, 20, of 108 Highland Ave., Yonkers, were arrested and two guns confiscated after a 25 year old woman was robbed of her cell phone at 8:44 p.m. Wednesday at South Broadway and Ludlow Street, police said. They were charged with first-degree robbery and first-degree criminal use of a firearm, both felonies.

(Minority Report precrime unit computer room)

Philip K. Dick wrote extensively about the Precrime system. It used computers and precognitive human beings to predict murders before they happened:

In the gloomy half-darkness the three idiots sat babbling. Every incoherent utterance, every random syllable, was analyzed, compared and reassembled in the form of visual symbols, transcribed on conventional punchcards, and ejected into various coded slots.
(Read more about the precrime analytical wing)

Take a look at the Minority Report-Style Display (very similar to the one Tom Cruise uses in the movie). Read more at Computer helps predict time, place of Yonkers robbery.

(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission from Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction.)