We all tend to follow habits at work and in other aspects of our lives. I generally work best in the morning and hate working after dinner. Our habits usually reflect preferences, learning, or a combination of the two — or, as Charles Duhigg notes in his book “The Power of Habit,” the mere repetition of an act might generate a routine.

My own recent research shows that criminals are not all that different from law-abiding citizens when it comes to sticking to a routine, possibly as a result of their experience, their tendency to specialize and their belief that they have developed an ideal strategy. And police departments are catching on, with the assistance of an increasingly common tool: algorithms.

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