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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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  • country... NoName 2012/07/20 14:09:05
    countrygent
    Yup!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...
  • Jenelle country... 2012/07/16 21:19:29
    Jenelle
    If the government is corrupt, and it is, then those they call criminals may not be what you think. They may include you, the law abiding citizen.
  • John T. 2012/07/16 17:46:43
    Helpful to Society
    John T.
    +2
    It only makes good since. You do the same thing in your home. You put more protection in places that you are more venerable. History of areas or situation types, like construction zones, you know that there is a higher likely hood of theft or vandalism. It is less time consuming if you are able to ketch the perpetrator in the act than try to track them down later.
  • Jenelle John T. 2012/07/16 21:21:24
    Jenelle
    Security in your home does not intrude on innocent people's lives, people who are now called potential terrorists by this corrupt government.
  • John T. Jenelle 2012/08/05 21:07:20
    John T.
    Remember that the only security you have outside your home is law enforcement agencies. There are more criminals than enforcement officers. Think of that each time you venture into your other home (The outside world) or you will find yourself locked in your own house. Most all of these brave officers stand between you and the really bad guys. If some innocent people get hassled, it is more than likely an honest mistake or they have had similar problems with them in the past. Tru putting yourself in there place sometimes.
  • Jenelle John T. 2012/08/03 14:19:25
    Jenelle
    Only works with a just government.
  • hrailey 2012/07/16 17:46:33
    Harmful to Society
    hrailey
    +2
    How can anarchy continue to progress on a fast track in our society with such actions as these, despicable!
  • aleksan... hrailey 2012/07/16 22:54:45
    aleksandr savchenkov
    If I had a bullet for every idiot in the world, there would be a lot less idiots in this world.
  • Mitchell McAleer 2012/07/16 17:42:11
    Helpful to Society
    Mitchell McAleer
    +2
    If it makes the police more efficient, I'm all for it. The only way to justify this increase in efficiency is to have the technology reflect that efficiency increase with a decrease in budget required to fund the police. As a constituent who pays a great deal of tax dollars to fund the police, I do not accept continually increasing budgets, and perpetually expanding control, just because the police and their cronies want more financial security.
  • Harmful to Society
    ⚥Κόζμω Græme اليا Mongrain
    There should have been a "Other" check box. It goes both ways.

    A) A person is allowed to misbehave while drinking but nothing is done until s/he commits a serious problem.

    B) Someone with altersexual tendencies is forced to to have 'corrective measures' performed involuntarily on them.
  • beyondtheparadoxical 2012/07/16 17:24:38
    Helpful to Society
    beyondtheparadoxical
    +5
    Sending more police to patrol high crime areas... Really not sure how that can be seen as a bad thing.
  • thelast... beyondt... 2012/07/16 17:59:12
    thelastconservative
    +1
    Depends on how an area came to be considered a high crime area.
  • Jenelle thelast... 2012/07/16 21:23:14
    Jenelle
    Fundamentalist Christians meeting together to pray about infanticide in this country, for example are potential terrorists.
  • George Zook 2012/07/16 17:24:28 (edited)
    Harmful to Society
    George Zook
    +1
    when there is a crime being committed thats when the cops should show up .. using coin flipping ... taro decks .... the I ching ... crystal balls or algorithms is unacceptable ... also too easy to tweak ... I can see constitutionality challenges already ... who is doing the math... we will need a separate branch of law enforcement with judicial oversight and legislative approval to avoid the possibility of profiling ... defense lawyers are gearing up right now
  • BigFig#9 2012/07/16 17:23:03
    Helpful to Society
    BigFig#9
    Duhhhh.... It just uses more advanced tools to do what police have always done - deploy police where they are most likely to be needed.
  • Pilot337 2012/07/16 17:22:20
    Helpful to Society
    Pilot337
    +2
    I don't see a problem with strengthening law enforcement in areas that show themselves to be more likely to need it. When asked why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton once said, "Because that's where the money is." As far as I'm concerned, beef up enforcement in these areas "because that's where the crime is."
  • Obama Your MommA 2012/07/16 17:18:30
    Harmful to Society
    Obama Your MommA
    Oh, I meant helpful. My bad.
  • shadow76 2012/07/16 17:17:44
    Harmful to Society
    shadow76
    +1
    It is UnConstitutional!
  • friend.wilkins 2012/07/16 17:15:06
    Helpful to Society
    friend.wilkins
    +1
    Yes, devote more law enforcement to high crime areas. Makes perfect sense to me. And I simply cannot see how this policy would trample the 4th Amendment.
  • Thane36425 2012/07/16 17:00:25
    Harmful to Society
    Thane36425
    +1
    If this is only used in the broad sense, sending police to areas trending higher in crime, that is one thing. However, it likely won't stop there. Already programs exist that read body language and behaviors to single them out for attention. Using predicitve technology in that way would be very harmful to society, especially when combined with the growing and increasingly pervasive survellience industry.
  • Jenelle Thane36425 2012/07/16 21:24:02
    Jenelle
    +1
    Exactly!
  • lynn 2012/07/16 16:58:09
    Helpful to Society
    lynn
    +2
    Any tool which helps fight and reduce crime is an asset to society, and most of all to those in high crime areas. This is basic common sense. Once again, political correctness is interfering with sound reason and logic. According to this poll, it seems to be winning, which in my humble opinion is a very sad statement about the ability of the American people to see the big picture. If you aren't involved in crime, you have nothing to worry about. If you are, you should have something to worry about, and if you feel safe committing crime in a certain area, therein lies the problem. I've been stopped by the police off and on through the years because I wear my hair long, and never once was I "hassled". I simply showed my license and info, and was sent on my way. No big deal. In fact, it was good to know they were actually looking for criminal activity.
  • baboula 2012/07/16 16:53:23
    Harmful to Society
    baboula
    +1
    has anyone seen "Minority Report'? or in very banal form how about "Persons of Interest"? It will have the best intentions and start out perfectly but it will not stay that way
    History has shown that absolute power corrupts absolutely and all it takes is one
  • clance 2012/07/16 16:38:14
    Helpful to Society
    clance
    +3
    This method of prediction has been used with great success by emergency response unit for years now. It only makes sense to employ it using LEOs where areas of high incidences of crime can be predicted to shorten response time or act as a deterent making better use of limited resources.
  • andy 2012/07/16 16:36:46
    Harmful to Society
    andy
    I don't really know...
  • JoshuaGNorman 2012/07/16 16:30:10
    Helpful to Society
    JoshuaGNorman
    +2
    It depends on how it is utilized. You don't really need computer algorithms to determine that the majority of crime in Boston will take place in Gloxsbury, Murderpan, Deathchester and other rats nest neighborhoods.

    It appears that Jean and I were thinking the same thing.
  • Sarah Alexander 2012/07/16 16:29:32
    Helpful to Society
    Sarah Alexander
    +3
    They should be where more crimes happen, it makes sense and I think, in general, they do anyway. Where I live is a good area where very few things happen and there are fewer police than where I go to school - there are a lot of police because the area around the university isn't great.
  • cmdrbnd007 2012/07/16 16:25:17
    Helpful to Society
    cmdrbnd007
    +2
    This doesn't bother near as much as drones flying over our cities. I'd rather the police use available science and technology and make a presence where crimes might be happening. To me this isn't a civil right violation. They are just put extra police where they think they will be needed most. Just makes common sense to me.
  • ClintAustin26 2012/07/16 16:19:06
    Helpful to Society
    ClintAustin26
    +1
    YES! Put'em where they're needed. It's a waste of taxpayer's money to have'em sitting somewhere with nothing going on.
  • Jean 2012/07/16 16:17:37
    Helpful to Society
    Jean
    I don't really think you need an algorithm in order to predict where crimes are likely to occur. Look for gang graffiti, broken windows, vandalized property and trash-strewn streets and you have a good idea that there are people there who have no regard for property. It's called "common sense," but of course, that is also construed as RAAAAACIST and "judgmental."
  • Brian David S 2012/07/16 16:14:07
    Harmful to Society
    Brian David S
    +2
    "Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things. " - Russell Baker

    I keep seeing the same thing among the supporters of this idea here, "IF" it's done right it will be a great thing. That's all well and good but it WON'T be done right. Anything that can be abused WILL be abused. Have you not learned that yet people? Thought is NOT a crime. Predicting that something bad is going to happen does not mean something bad IS going to happen.

    Predictive algorithms are notoriously unreliable. If they weren't there'd be no deaths from tornadoes, earthquakes, or volcanoes. We'd never get rained on because we would always know exactly when and where rain was going to fall. And we'd all be rich because we'd know exactly how the stock market was going to progress every minute.

    The potential for abuse with this type of thing is truly massive. No thank you!
  • Ben 2012/07/16 16:01:32
    Helpful to Society
    Ben
    +1
    This question is so incredibly stupid. I'm starting to hate this planet.
  • Dogzebra~PWCM~JLA 2012/07/16 15:57:17
    Harmful to Society
    Dogzebra~PWCM~JLA
    +1
    What starts out helpful usually ends up harming the innocent.

    gyyg
  • SW Dogzebr... 2012/07/16 16:27:11
    SW
    Ya know if the dude at WACO wasn't a white guy named David, but instead was a brown guy named Hassad Abdul or something and ATF agents were trying to serve a warrant for illegal weapons nobody would give a S#%^ if they just bombed the place.
  • jubil8 BN-0 PON 2012/07/16 15:53:50
    Helpful to Society
    jubil8 BN-0 PON
    I'm surprised that anyone has said this is profiling and therefore bad; anyone with that opinion must like the TSA and doesn't understand what profiling is.

    It seems to me that anything that's designed to protect citizens is good IN PRINCIPLE, but if it's not APPLIED well, it won't work. That will be the job of each police force. And sadly I appreciate why people would have a problem believing the police will do this well. I don't know whether anyone in a large metro force is trained for this kind of monitoring or dispatching. Now people definitely will need to be.

    And, of course, SOMEONE has to verify that the software does what it says it does.

    My big question is: Don't police already know where trouble spots are in their cities and plan accordingly?
  • wade 2012/07/16 15:47:34 (edited)
    Helpful to Society
    wade
    +1
    If law enforcement use this the way it is designed, it will only better for the businesses and residents in that area. It will cut down reaction time to a crime, and police presence alone is a deterrence to crime in itself. How is it not more comforting to have a patrol vehicle in the area especially if you and your family live in a high crime area? And for those opposed to the idea, would you rather wait an extra couple minutes while somebody viloently attacks you or a family member at your home or business. The system is to aid the society, and in today's world of technology, any law enforcement officer abusing the system would be sure to be video recorded by someone on the street; thus leading to his incorrect actions. Our nation is only getting worst with crime, and I believe a system like this only aids the society.
  • sheppar... wade 2012/07/16 16:03:49 (edited)
    sheppard.robin
    "any law enforcement officer abusing the system would be sure to be video recorded by someone on the street; thus leading to his incorrect actions." Actually, the only thing this results in is more communities passing laws prohibiting taking photos or videos of cops in action.

    At what point does "predictive policing" become "self-fulfilling prophecy"? It's like the old saying, "If your only tool is a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail." If you start flooding an area with extra police because of some computer program, you can bet they're going to be looking for crime--whether it's there or not. When I attended the police academy, our instructor on traffic law enforcement said, "If you follow a vehicle--ANY vehicle--for a mile, and in that mile you can't find a reason to pull it over, you're not doing your job."

    "Yes, Mayor, we know you spent $14,000,000 on a new computer system and software, but I hate to have to be the one to tell you it doesn't work." Are YOU the police chief who wants to be responsible for telling the may that, in effect, he was a dumb politician who just wasted the taxpayers' money? AR YOU the patrol leader or the shift commander who has to tell the chief that it was a waste of money? No, not if you want to keep your job. You're going to do your damned...



    "any law enforcement officer abusing the system would be sure to be video recorded by someone on the street; thus leading to his incorrect actions." Actually, the only thing this results in is more communities passing laws prohibiting taking photos or videos of cops in action.

    At what point does "predictive policing" become "self-fulfilling prophecy"? It's like the old saying, "If your only tool is a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail." If you start flooding an area with extra police because of some computer program, you can bet they're going to be looking for crime--whether it's there or not. When I attended the police academy, our instructor on traffic law enforcement said, "If you follow a vehicle--ANY vehicle--for a mile, and in that mile you can't find a reason to pull it over, you're not doing your job."

    "Yes, Mayor, we know you spent $14,000,000 on a new computer system and software, but I hate to have to be the one to tell you it doesn't work." Are YOU the police chief who wants to be responsible for telling the may that, in effect, he was a dumb politician who just wasted the taxpayers' money? AR YOU the patrol leader or the shift commander who has to tell the chief that it was a waste of money? No, not if you want to keep your job. You're going to do your damnedest to prove that the system works. And if it means fudging the figures my arresting someone who in any other part of town might have been let go with a warning, that's exactly what you're going to do.

    A lot of police cars have emblazoned on their sides the words, "To Protect And Serve." Translated from doublespeak, that means "We're here to maintain the status quo and to serve our masters. And if that means violating your rights and tossing your ass in jail, that's exactly what we're going to do. We are The Police. We are NOT your friends."

    And yes, you are right: our nation IS getting worse with crime. And it starts at the top, with politicians, and goes all the way down through bankers, Wall Street robber-barons, bank presidents, and corporate CEO's. But it's never the guy who swindles a bank or a group of investors out of millions of dollars who goes to jail--it's the guy who steals a loaf of bread to feed his kids, or who get's 49.96 from the liquor store he just robbed to pay for his heroin habit.
    (more)
  • Charles 2012/07/16 15:45:44
    Harmful to Society
    Charles
    +1
    PP could also mean other things, including how hiring louses who were bullies in high school will predictably turn enhanced bullies loose on society. PP can mean how training at police academies intentionally alienates them from society. PP can mean the mentality they're instilled with that holds the view that if they're at theoretical risk of accidentally getting a faint scratch, they gun down someone's dog. PP can mean its predictable that police lobby legislatures for ever more power until it becomes absolute and ever less accountability until it reaches zero. PP can mean how internal affairs only act against their personnel when they've harmed or disobeyed a superior, while covering up when they injure the public. Look around you, friends. See all the reports in the media and You Tube on police being rude, hateful, arrogant, cruel, savage, barbaric, sadistic, abusive, Stalinistic. They go awhile and see no one breaking the law, their stress level rises, they're power junkies who have to routinely get a power "fix," so they land on someone breaking no law; detain, question, intimidate, interrogate and harass that person till their power "fix" has satisfied their craving. We are at RISK of losing EVERYTHING the Founding Fathers died to give us! Remember Prohibition (of alcoholic beverages) it was a severe failure; the current Prohibition is also causing way more harm than good.
  • Tony Cicarella 2012/07/16 15:43:13
    Harmful to Society
    Tony Cicarella
    +1
    Wish there was a undecided on this. I would have to learn a lot more about this to really make up my mind. I see some benefits but I'm Leary because the opportunity for abuse seems high. Over zealous police forces r not who I would trust with this.
  • jason 2012/07/16 15:33:18
    Harmful to Society
    jason
    Our legacy is we have more people in prison per capita than all other nations. We have turned into a police state. We are worse than the NAZI'S.

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