Policing with Algorithms
"In the 2002 tech-noir film 'The
Minority Report,' Tom Cruise fights to prove his innocence in a
dystopian future where crimes are prevented and punished, based on the
predictions of three psychic humans called 'precogs.'
However, the Hollywood fantasy of stopping crimes before they are committed is no longer just science fiction.
Today it is known as predictive policing.
Instead of psychics, some law
enforcement agencies are using mathematical algorithms to predict
crime. In 2013, the Chicago Police Department began using mathematical
analytics to create what it calls 'heat lists'
— catalogs of people who, through the weighing of multiple risk factors
such as an individual’s arrest records, known associates, or warrant
status, were considered statistically more likely to be involved in
Today, commercial companies like PredPol and HunchLab
offer police the potential, based on the results of these complex
algorithms, to predict when and where crimes are likely to occur."