Anticipatory routing of police helicopters

Rick van Urk, Rick van Urk, Martijn R.K. Mes, Elias W. Hans

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We have developed a decision support application for the Dutch Aviation Police and Air Support unit for routing their helicopters in anticipation of unknown future incidents. These incidents are not known in advance, yet do require a swift response. A response might include the dispatch of a police helicopter to support the police on the ground. If a helicopter takes too long to arrive at the crime scene, it might be too late to assist. Hence, helicopters have to be proximate when an incident happens to increase the likelihood of being able to support the police on the ground in apprehending suspects. We propose the use of a forecasting technique, followed by a routing heuristic to maximize the number of incidents where a helicopter provides a successful assist. We have implemented these techniques in a decision support application in collaboration with the Dutch Aviation Police and Air Support. Using numerical experiments, we show that our application has the potential to improve the success rate with a factor nine. The Dutch Air Support and Aviation Police are now using the application.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6938-6947
JournalExpert systems with applications
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • METIS-297301
  • IR-87012


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