Crime is a large concern for many students on the University's campus. In the past year, there have been several safety scares sparking campus-wide outcry and, more recently, a false report of an armed intruder on campus.
Since many students and faculty at the University have expressed safety concerns, students in computer software classes created Crimer, a powerful crime prediction platform built using the latest data science technology, during the 2018-2019 academic school year.
The program was developed by students under recent computer science and engineering Ph.D. graduate Grant Williams in Object Oriented Design. The same students finished the program in Software Systems Development, taught by Computer Science and Engineering Assistant Professor Anas Mahmoud. The classes focus on students applying what they've learned in previous classes to group projects with real-life impacts.
Students form groups in Object Oriented Design in fall and begin working on their projects, which are completed in Software Systems Development in the spring.
Crimer's software uses a heat map to determine where crime is prevalent and predict crime patterns. According to Mahmoud, Crimer uses many sources, including daily news articles and police reports, to glean data on where recent crime occurred.
“That information could be used to help a lot of people, first of all the police. For example, to know where to dispatch police officers [for a game day weekend], probably Tigerland is a good place,” Mahmoud said. “It could also be helpful for people trying to start a business or buy a house and avoid places with a lot of crime.”
Crimer is a machine learning system, an application of artificial intelligence that automatically learns and improves from experience without being explicitly programmed. Every day, programmers feed data from various sources into Crimer so that crime information is always up to date.
The students have taken this project and turned it into a real business. According to Mahmoud, the company currently has an office in downtown Baton Rouge with 12 employees, 11 of which are current or former University students.
“This is a group of one of the most hardworking students I’ve ever worked with. It took a lot of time and a lot of effort, and they secured a lot of funding for the effort.” Mahmoud said. “It isn’t your standard student project; it’s actually a real business.”