Friday, February 26, 2016

Big Data on the Beat: Predictive Policing has Arrived
"'Predictive policing used to be the future,' said career cop William Bratton, 'and now it is the present.' In mid-May 2015, Bratton—the visionary former chief of police in Boston, New York City, Los Angeles, and currently again top cop in New York—was talking about his early days as an officer in Boston, about what worked and what didn’t, and about what can work better in the future. That future will involve predictive policing, which Bratton is bringing to New York (a pilot program was launched last summer).

Predictive policing, which Bratton helped develop when he headed the Los Angeles Police Department during the 2000s, seeks not just to fight crime but to anticipate and prevent it. It uses cutting-edge technology and Big Data—some of which comes from past analysis and some of which is new, streaming in real time to an onboard computer in a patrol car—to identify high-risk areas, which precincts can then flood with police. The aim is not to make arrests but to deter crime before it occurs. Predictive policing relies crucially on community engagement—it can work only when the police are seen as part of the neighborhood, rather than as an occupying presence. At a time when police-community relations are frayed and many cities face rising violent-crime rates as well as renewed concern about terrorist threats, the approach may provide a better way forward."

Related Article:  Does Predictive Policing Lead to More Police in Black Communities?  Readers React

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