Justice Department Forms “Predictive Policing” Group


The U.S. Justice Department has formed a National Predictive Policing Advisory Group after a symposium in Los Angeles last week on the practice, which the department describes as one that “integrates approaches such as cutting-edge crime analysis, crime fighting technology, intelligence-lead policing and more to inform forward thinking crime prevention strategies and tactics.” The department has given out grants totalling more than $1,150,000 to seven places to develop the concept: Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Shreveport, Boston, New York City, and the Maryland State Police.

News media were not permitted to cover the symposium, but Southern California Public Radio interviewed several people about it. The result can be heard at this site: http://www.scpr.org/programs/patt-morrison/2009/11/19/predictive-policing-a-real-life-minority-report. Says the radio station: “Predictive policing combines technology and statistical analysis to identify crime hot spots and forecast who is likely to commit crimes, at what times, and in which location. Are you thinking Tom Cruise in ‘Minority Report’? Former LAPD Chief Bill Bratton was an advocate of the program, but civil liberties scholars are beginning to raise concerns over privacy and civil rights issues associated with the predictive analytics.”

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