Do machine learning methods outperform traditional statistical models in crime prediction? A comparison between logistic regression and neural networks

Chongmin Na, Gyeongseok Oh, Juyoung Song, Hyoungah Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although machine learning (ML) methods have recently gained popularity in both academia and industry as alternative risk assessment tools for efficient decision-making, inconsistent patterns are observed in the existing literature regarding their competitiveness and utility in predicting various outcomes. Drawing on a sample of the general youth population in the U.S., we compared the predictive accuracy of logistic regression (LR) and neural networks (NNs), which are the most widely applied approaches in conventional statistics and contemporary ML methods, respectively, by adopting many theoretically relevant predictors of the future arrest outcome. Even after fully implementing rigorous ML protocols for model tuning and up-sampling and down-sampling procedures recommended in recent literature to optimize learning algorithms, NNs did not yield substantially improved performance over LR if we still rely on a conventional dataset with relatively small sample sizes and a limited number of predictors. Nonetheless, we encourage more rigorous, comprehensive, and diverse evaluation research for a complete understanding of the ML potential in predictive capacity and the contingencies in which modern ML methods can perform better than conventional parametric statistical models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalKorean Journal of Policy Studies
Volume36
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Administration

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