Friday, April 22, 2016

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 violent crimes. 

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."



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