Police departments across the United States are also deploying data-driven risk-assessment tools in “predictive policing” crime prevention efforts. In many cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami, software analyses of large sets of historical crime data are used to forecast where crime hot spots are most likely to emerge; the police are then directed to those areas.That's good, right?
At the very least, this software risks perpetuating an already vicious cycle, in which the police increase their presence in the same places they are already policing (or overpolicing), thus ensuring that more arrests come from those areas. In the United States, this could result in more surveillance in traditionally poorer, nonwhite neighborhoods, while wealthy, whiter neighborhoods are scrutinized even less.And to think, that is "the very least" harm predictive and data-driven policing policing could do. What is the worst-case scenario?
See, the problem according to this piece -- just thrown in there, asserted like God's truth -- is that people in high-crime neighborhoods suffer from police presence. Nothing about preventing crime or the criminals police are paid to confront. Police just "scrutinize" and arrest. To break this "vicious cycle", should we have fewer police in high-crime neighborhoods? I can't help but notice that cities that have inadvertently put this strategy to test -- less policing, less scrutiny in high-crime areas, fewer arrests -- cities like Baltimore and Chicago? They're not doing so well with the crime fighting.
[hat tip to my brother]