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Is 'Predictive Policing' Helpful or Harmful to Society?

Fef 2012/07/13 19:00:00
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Predictive policing uses algorithms to predict where crime will occur and sends extra law enforcement patrols into those neighborhoods. The police processes historical data through a computer program and determines "hot spots" based on modeling by social anthropologists.

Reason.com asks, "How might predictive policing interfere with the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment guarantee that Americans are to be free unreasonable searches and seizures?" Reason.com claims to provide an alternative to right-wing and left-wing opinions with its focus on liberty and individual choice. Ronald Bailey's article discusses the benefits (less crime, more efficient law enforcement) and costs (possible violation of Civil Rights?).

REASON.COM reports:
Predictive policing helps police protect citizens. It could also be used to oppress them.

Chart from Memphis Police Department’s Blue CRUSH initiative uses IBM predictive analytics software to analyze past and present crime records in seconds to create multi-layer “hot spots” and better deploy officers to combat crime.
Predictive Policing

Read More: http://reason.com/archives/2012/07/10/predictive-p...

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Top Opinion

  • iamco2000 2012/07/14 02:39:38
    Harmful to Society
    iamco2000
    +11
    hmmm, slowly edge our way into an Orwellian nightmare shall we? Haven't we been told that slow, metered, indoctrination causes us to not notice societal changes or ask questions? 1920's Germany experienced the same thing....the gov. said "every self-respecting German citizen will be proud to register their guns", then when it became time for Hitler to bring the hammer down it was a piece of cake for the Gestapo and SS to round up....they'd already been given the addresses and names.

    Talk about a real-life acting out of the Minority Report, you might be arrested because an algorithm decided you would be, sorry but we have a Constitution that specifically and clearly states Innocent until PROVEN guilty, not suspect until preemptively apprehended.

    Talk about a sign of the times, what's next death sentences by self-aware "predictive enforcement" drones?

    Grace to you, Glory to God!

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  • mikeeonly 2012/07/17 04:28:01
    Helpful to Society
    mikeeonly
    After having spent a considerable amount of time working and just being in Philly, I do tend to agree to a point. I don't agree with the profiling end of it and harassment because of profiling. I do believe that the extra police presence is a deterrent to crime in those high crime areas.
  • Jimmy 2012/07/17 02:42:54
    Harmful to Society
    Jimmy
    +1
    There are a lot of strong minded courageous people out there that will stand up against tyranny that will reject giving unnecessary power to government that would be used maliciously against the people. Unfortunately there are also many cowardly people that are willing to give up their and everyone else’s freedoms in order to receive a false sense of security. Remember any power that can be abused will be abused.
  • lynda.appell2 2012/07/17 02:11:46
    Harmful to Society
    lynda.appell2
    +1
    I too share the concern of reason.com on unreasonable search and seizures. I noticed the word illegal, unconstitutional wasn't used. I'm concerned too about the algorithims. How were they decided. Concerned if they were based on race, ethnic backgrounds, income levels.
  • Chuck 2012/07/17 01:51:53
    Harmful to Society
    Chuck
    +1
    Crime is generally random in nature unless it is being controlled by gangs or "organized crime." Gangs and "organized crime" pay for the police to be otherwise engaged rather than being present in high crime areas. The algorithms will only help the criminals due to ever changing paradigm shifts.
  • writing... Chuck 2012/07/17 01:55:55
    writing_fanatic
    I think honestly, the only way that it would help, would be if they kept an ew on gangs, but you're right.
  • ShamshirMkII 2012/07/17 01:19:56
    Harmful to Society
    ShamshirMkII
    +1
    ....and I can predict how this particular system will be severely abused by the upper echelons of power to wipe out whoever they find obstructive in their ravenous power grabbing.
  • Gerald 2012/07/16 23:07:34
    Harmful to Society
    Gerald
    +1
    Seems like not enough people have watch Orwells's 1984, or Minority Report.....& or those that have, are to far gone/indoctrinated to care (or too stupid to understand it). Don't forget to pick up the new edition of New-Speak.
    "Citizen 87723B, do not worry. Your government is in control. The surgeon General has declared that free thinking is harmful to your health. Be a good citizen. Work, consume, question nothing & don't forget to take your mandatory "happy pill"
  • Tennessee3501 2012/07/16 23:07:18
    Helpful to Society
    Tennessee3501
    +1
    Crush the criminals!
  • T 2012/07/16 22:56:37
    Helpful to Society
    T
    +1
    The idea is no different than having more police in high crime areas. It cuts down on crime. The problem is when cops go to these areas and treat everyone like they are a criminal. The problem isn't in the method, it's in the training of the law enforcers.
  • BAR 2012/07/16 22:54:43
    Harmful to Society
    BAR
    +1
    Predictive policing is not going to be able to predict "Random" acts of violence or crimes of passion and opportunistic crimes... and could give ppl a false sense of security believing they are being better protected.
  • lurch 2012/07/16 22:26:59
    Harmful to Society
    lurch
    That means logic is used. Since when does a criminal use logic to decide to commit the crime, let alone where.
  • DanielRivers 2012/07/16 21:43:28
    Helpful to Society
    DanielRivers
    As long as they aren't stopping and searching people there is nothing wrong with police being in areas which have high crime. They kinda do this already don't they? hmmm well the area where the gang activity and shoothouts are know to occure we are gonna have extra officers. Why do we need a computer? Searching random people is a vilolation of rights not just having cops in an area.
  • Mark 2012/07/16 21:31:40
    Helpful to Society
    Mark
    It's no different than any business. You spend time figuring out where your opportunities will be and then concentrate your efforts on those areas. Simple. It would be stupid not to.
  • rand 2012/07/16 21:31:40
    Helpful to Society
    rand
    It helps government to be more efficient. I also have no problem with the stop and search program in NYC. I've little doubt that paranoia will object, however.
  • daniel wayne 2012/07/16 21:28:59
    Helpful to Society
    daniel wayne
    i think if we have tech available and dont use it, we can only blame ourselves when someone says, we have a cure but no one wants to use it. it wont be politically correct, you know. the hot spots are always going to be in a black or hispanic neighborhood and someone is going to scream that its profiling. so it probably wont be allowed.....
  • Groundskeeper Willy 2012/07/16 20:52:06
    Harmful to Society
    Groundskeeper Willy
    +1
    Playing into this Orwellian president's notion of control. I don't care who doesn't this. We have a bill of rights for a reason, whether it is drones, or predictive policing, law enforcement is not to be proactive, they need to remain a reactive entity.
  • Saye Saye 2012/07/16 20:42:13
    Helpful to Society
    Saye Saye
    To prevent and reduce crime I am for it.
  • Tannenberg1993 2012/07/16 20:37:35
    Harmful to Society
    Tannenberg1993
    +1
    Math and numbers can only help in so many areas of society; Hell, soon we'll be predicting exactly where the next major earthquake will strike, only for it to hit elsewhere and kill a bunch of unprepared people. I appreciate the effort but this isn't looking bright.
  • El Prez 2012/07/16 20:36:19
    Harmful to Society
    El Prez
    +1
    Beginning to sound a little Orwelian to me. Seems like some junk science is at work here.
  • Bryon D. Wilson Jr. 2012/07/16 20:29:19
    Helpful to Society
    Bryon D. Wilson Jr.
    Could be
  • Mary Ann 2012/07/16 20:27:21
    Harmful to Society
    Mary Ann
    +1
    It might start off with good intentions.....but I see those intentions becoming dangerous intentions.
  • Jenelle Mary Ann 2012/07/16 21:13:41
    Jenelle
    There are good intentions only on the part of those who participate on a lower rung of the ladder. Those at the top have evil intentions.
  • brian 2012/07/16 20:12:17
    Harmful to Society
    brian
    +1
    Are the Police so unable to use logic that they need computers? High crime areas are going to change through time, so the police will simply be chasing crime areas around with little results, and Isn't that what they have been doing? Also, when the Cops are all in high crime areas and someone robs a store in a low crime area, this is nonproductive. Patrolling is the only way to respond to activity because accidents and crimes happen all over, and most of the time you can't stop them you can only respond to them. I think the motto is to Serve and protect, not to monitor and oppress. Next they'll have low income civilians wearing big yellow stars on there cloths so they can keep an eye on them.
  • Boo 2012/07/16 19:36:21
    Helpful to Society
    Boo
    +2
    I think it can be a useful tool, just like PROFILING. Presumably it would only oppress those commiting crimes. This is sort of like "the machine" in Person of Interest, but used to stop crimes, not just terrorism.
  • Delete 2012/07/16 19:20:08
  • Proud 2012/07/16 19:01:54
  • Jenelle Proud 2012/07/16 21:14:29
    Jenelle
    Exactly right.
  • Khori Lake 2012/07/16 19:01:37
    Harmful to Society
    Khori Lake
    +3
    They mean blacks and Spanish people communities. This is just another type of Profiling GOD has 9/11 really waken all of u who voted that this is helpful or do u guys just work for the New World Order? AMERICA land of the free well geez I sure don't feel free now a days. They the shadow government and greedy ass holes. want to control every aspect of ur life cuz they are on this crazy GOD COMPLEX Trip. Also we the Citizens should practice the right to bear arms....then we wont have to pay drug dealing cops. Now not all cops are bad but a good bit of them are two face snakes. I had several family members who were cops and two were awful at their job and one of the two is doing time. Anyway so yup this is stupid and it would just promote riots and civil war. 2014 would be the end of america as we know it and that sucks. More so once they set up that Anti Pirate crap for the web.
  • Donn Wr... Khori Lake 2012/07/16 19:27:58 (edited)
    Donn Wright
    +2
    America is now the least free Nation on Earth. Don't believe it? According to recent studies, the average American adult commits at least 3 felonies every DAY. Last year alone, the Feds passed over 88,000 new laws without repealing a single one. Imagine what that number would be if you added all the States, counties and cities' new laws! Ignorance is no excuse? No one in America could possibly know even 10% of the laws that apply to them.

    America has only 5% of the world's population and yet we have 25% of all the people incarcerated on the planet.

    Since the passage of NDAA 2012, the President can now put any citizen in a military jail FOREVER without a trial, access to a lawyer or even formal charges being filed against them.
    Only the most draconian dictatorships on Earth can do that to their citizens.

    And yet, we still vote for the bastards that did this to us.
  • Jenelle Khori Lake 2012/07/16 21:15:59
    Jenelle
    They do mean blacks, but also all those who will not accept the New World Order which includes a One World Religion.
  • Jaiheena Star 2012/07/16 18:57:06
  • charles nelson 2012/07/16 18:45:10
    Harmful to Society
    charles nelson
    +2
    Now if there was only a little Predictive Corruptibilities for Wall Street, DC and Fox News.
  • Tasinahri 2012/07/16 18:42:25
    Harmful to Society
    Tasinahri
    +2
    Policing or profiling? o.0
  • PvK 2012/07/16 18:37:00
    Harmful to Society
    PvK
    +2
    Just check out the government's RFP's (requests for proposals) for research projects on how to predict potential "terrorist" threats before they become threats, so they can be "proactively" taken out.
  • jonathan 2012/07/16 18:34:23
  • crimsonian 2012/07/16 18:23:37
    Helpful to Society
    crimsonian
    +6
    I think all the conspiracy theorists need to take a step back and relax (and perhaps put down their copies of 1984). This is a standardized and systematic realization of something that police forces have been doing since their inception -- ping WHERE they are needed. If there's a spike in crime at a specific location, additional patrols in that sector are made. That is all this technology appears to be eliciting. No where did I read that this technology will be used to predict WHO will be doing the crimes -- we don't have a set of triplets sleeping in a fish tank under the white house. This is a simple algorithm to take various environmental and historical variables into account when determining where our police officers and possibly even EMS and fire could benefit their citizens the most.

    I would like to make it clear that we are already doing this to varying degrees across the country -- a standardized computer system would help remove arbitrariness or personal bias inherent in current decision making (made manually by people).

    Computers can recognize and adapt on new trends much quicker than humans. Especially since humans are susceptible to personal prejudice and stereotyping. I think this system is more fair and in less violation of the constitution than current efforts.
    ...


    I think all the conspiracy theorists need to take a step back and relax (and perhaps put down their copies of 1984). This is a standardized and systematic realization of something that police forces have been doing since their inception -- ping WHERE they are needed. If there's a spike in crime at a specific location, additional patrols in that sector are made. That is all this technology appears to be eliciting. No where did I read that this technology will be used to predict WHO will be doing the crimes -- we don't have a set of triplets sleeping in a fish tank under the white house. This is a simple algorithm to take various environmental and historical variables into account when determining where our police officers and possibly even EMS and fire could benefit their citizens the most.

    I would like to make it clear that we are already doing this to varying degrees across the country -- a standardized computer system would help remove arbitrariness or personal bias inherent in current decision making (made manually by people).

    Computers can recognize and adapt on new trends much quicker than humans. Especially since humans are susceptible to personal prejudice and stereotyping. I think this system is more fair and in less violation of the constitution than current efforts.

    This has nothing to do with the 4th amendment -- no where does it say that this algorithm exempts pursuant officers from needing a search warrant. It's not like the algorithm is going to spit out a specific address (like your home), it's going to provide general sectors.

    If you guys are really worried about protecting our rights, then try to repeal the PATRIOT act and make sure things like SOPA never become reality.
    (more)
  • Jenelle crimsonian 2012/07/16 21:17:52
    Jenelle
    Computerize everything, control everything.
  • crimsonian Jenelle 2012/07/17 04:30:56
    crimsonian
    Man kind has, to varying degrees over the years, manged to control its masses with both stone and silicon tablets. From medieval kings to Hitler to modern Fascist leaders. It's all the same, technology has changed, but man has not evolved as much as it thinks.
  • countrygent 2012/07/16 18:04:37
    Helpful to Society
    countrygent
    +2
    Only those with possible guilt themselves would deny authorities another tool in their fight against crime! Oh yes, criminals don't worry at all about their constitutional rights unless it affects their way of doing business.... if it can be called that.
  • NoName country... 2012/07/16 20:17:34
    NoName
    +1
    "Only those with possible guilt themselves would deny authorities another tool in their fight against crime!"

    So those who try to prevent warrant-less wiretapping, or prevent searches without warrants, they're guilty of crimes because they prevent police from using the tool of having less restrictive access to people's lives?


    That is what your logic allows, and helps demonstrate the reasoning as patently faulty.

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