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Researchers use Twitter to predict crime

Published on Apr 20, 2014 10:40 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Hidden in the Twittersphere are nuggets of information that could prove useful to crime fighters - even before a crime has been committed.

Researchers at the University of Virginia demonstrated tweets could predict certain kinds of crimes if the correct analysis is applied.

A research paper published in the scientific journal Decision Support Systems last month said the analysis of geo-tagged tweets can be useful in predicting 19 to 25 kinds of crimes, especially for offenses such as stalking, thefts and certain kinds of assault.

The results are surprising, especially when one considers that people rarely tweet about crimes directly, said lead researcher Matthew Gerber of the university's Predictive Technology Lab.

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