Math in the News
Spectral Clustering Helps Determine Gang Membership
A paper published in the January issue of the SIAM Journal of Applied Mathematics describes how researchers analyzed the social interaction and geographical location of individuals to identify gang hotspots.
California mathematicians and criminologists applied a technique called "spectral clustering" to data gleaned from LAPD field interview cards. Spectral clustering identifies groups of "similar behavior" in data.
"The type of analysis undertaken in the paper...certainly will not provide clues as to the particular individual that committed a gang-motivated crime," says George Tita, one of the paper's authors. "[But] it can provide investigators a starting point with respect to the particular gang that might have been involved in the attack."