Arizona state leaders have approved a measure that allocates $1.8 million to a pilot program utilizing a new kind of software known as “predictive policing” technologies. Predictive policing would use data to figure out where crimes are going to happen next (just like the movie Minority Report).
If the bill passes, Arizona would become the first state in the nation to throw money toward the technology. Senate Bill 1293 sets up a program for the cities of Phoenix, Mesa, Maricopa and Sierra Vista to test out the program over the next three years. The measure needs Gov. Duecy’s signature before becoming law.
The new bill would direct funds to one-year pilot projects to develop software that can predict all sorts of offenses—property crime, drug activity, traffic accidents, and gang and gun violence—in both urban and rural settings. The projects would likely kick off in Phoenix, Mesa, and Lake Havasu City.
Police leaders in Los Angeles and Atlanta, for example, are giving the concept rave reviews and attributing it to a decline in crime. One place the system has been used is in the Foothills Precinct of LAPD.
“Despite having 20 percent fewer officers, they saw a 17 percent reduction in targeted crimes this last year,” said Larry Samuels, CEO of PredPro, one of the companies offering this type of service to police agencies. “The reality is predictive policing is going mainstream.”
The program uses an algorithm to predict areas and times that may be likely for certain types of crimes to occur. Ten years of crime data is input into the system and officers are then shown a map before their shift begins with little red boxes on it.
Those boxes represent areas where officers are told to spend a little more time while on their patrols.
“It allows police managers to allocate their resources more efficiently,” says Ken Crane, incoming President of PLEA, the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association.
Crane says resource management for the Phoenix Police Department is crucial and the technology could be a huge help because the department is down more than 550 officers.
“Your police departments are more efficient and catching more bad guys, that’s a good thing for everybody,” said Crane.
While the technologies may be new, the ideas behind predictive policing are not. Police departments have been trying to get ahead of crime for decades. In 1994, the New York City Police Department introduced CompStat—a precursor to predictive policing that uses crime data and computer-mapping technology to visualize crime patterns and inform police responses. The program has been credited with dramatically decreasing New York City crime rates, which did in fact drop in the years after it was implemented. After that, the program rapidly spread to police departments across the U.S.
“After 40 years of uncontrolled crime increases, fear and disorder, in the 1990s we finally got it right,” former New York and Los Angeles Police Department police chief William Bratton, who pioneered the use of CompStat, wrote in the journal Policing in 2008. No formal studies were conducted, however, to determine if CompStat was really responsible for the plummeting crime rates.
The downside to CompStat is that it’s reactive. It crunches statistics to figure out where crimes have already happened or are in progress, and allows police to respond faster. Predictive policing, on the other hand, would use the same data—and more—to figure out where crimes are going to happen next. Predictive software technologies integrate data on crimes, demographics, land use, the weather, parolee populations, emergency calls, businesses, foreclosures, and traffic accidents. PredPol, one such software start-up that many believe is a frontrunner for the Arizona contract, uses all that information to produce a list of crime hot spots—500-by-500-foot squares identifying where the risk of crimes occurring is highest during a given time window.
Police departments in Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, California—and abroad, in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands—have all tried predictive analyses to fight crime, but research on the effectiveness of predictive policing is still relatively hard to come by. What results are out there, however, are decidedly mixed.
A 2014 report from the Rand Corporation looked at a predictive policing effort in Louisiana and found that the practice had no statistically significant effect on property crime. But there was some good news: Police officers themselves felt the program was beneficial, and it didn’t cost the department any more than their standard policing practices would have.
The police department in Richmond Virginia credited predictive policing strategies with its ability to reduce random gunfire on New Year’s Eve (a problem that had plagued the city for years) by 47 percent and increase weapons seizures by 246 percent in 2003.
More recently, the city of Santa Cruz, California reported a 27 percent decrease in burglaries after implementing PredPol, and the Los Angeles Police Department reported that the system reduced property crimes by 13 percent. Predicting multiple types of crimes—thefts in addition to violent crimes—is still a problem for PredPol and other software technologies, but one that $2 million in funding from Arizona’s Department of Public Safety could potentially go a long way toward solving.
Critics immediately want to know if the software is an intrusion into people’s personal privacy.
A tougher problem to solve may be convincing people that—given that predictive policing is based on information gathering technologies—the use of that information won’t infringe on their privacy or civil liberties (Seriously, have you seen Minority Report?). “Community trust is huge as we move down this path,” LAPD police chief Charlie Beck said at a symposium on the future of predictive policing. “We need to be extremely transparent.”
“We draw only three pieces of information. The what, the where and the when. So there’s never any demographic or identity component to any of the information we get,” said Samuels.
Join us at: He is Coming – Are you Ready?
Lies,lies and more lies. With everything from social media to spy cams, tracking devices exist on virtually everything, this is nothing more than the mark of the beast, NWO system rolling out another division. The only transparency is that we have been warned.
And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not- 2 Peter 2:2-3 (KJV).
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage – 2 Peter 2:19 (KJV).
”..keep that which is avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith…” (1 Timothy 6:20-21 KJV).