Predictive policing is the use of data and other analytical techniques to identify potential criminal activity. This form of policing can be done by using mathematics, predictive analytics and other methods. These methods are used to identify patterns and possible crimes in enormous data sets.
Analysis of historical crime data
Police-recorded crime data is widely used for a variety of purposes. For example, it is used to study geographic concentrations of crime and target resources to areas with high rates of criminal activity. Likewise, policymakers draw on these records to justify policy changes.
However, analyzing historical crime data is not the same as predicting future crime. There are several sources of error in measuring crime. One major source of error is measurement error, which affects estimates of security measures and the true rate of disorder. Statistical models are used to determine if certain social factors are driving crime.
The Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey estimates that as many as 60 per cent of household property crimes and 52 per cent of violent crimes go unreported to the police. Another source of error is the underreporting of crimes. This can bias estimates of crime, and also leads to the misallocation of police resources.
Some studies have suggested that the actual rate of crime is lower than the official statistics claim. In particular, the “dark figure of crime” – the number of crimes that are not recorded in a database – is considerably larger within cities than it is between them.
Identification of patterns in enormous data sets
Predictive policing is a method for forecasting criminal activities using a variety of data. These techniques are used by law enforcement agencies to allocate resources more efficiently. The technology behind this system consists of powerful computers that crunch large data sets instantly.
Predictive policing is controversial because of the possibility that these techniques may undermine Fourth Amendment protections. Some criminologists have warned about the potential impact on civil rights. In addition, some have labelled predictive policing as a form of “tech-washing” and pointed out the possibility of racial biases influencing algorithmic crime forecasting.
There is little empirical research to support claims that predictive policing is effective. The majority of studies conducted by the academic community have concentrated on positive or negative expectations. However, the literature has a tendency to be vague about the key features of this innovative technology.
Although it can be said that there is some consensus on the key features of predictive policing, there are still many gaps in the research. For example, there is no clear-cut consensus on what is actually a predictive model or what is the most useful one. It is also unclear how these technologies can contribute to existing policing practices.
Reducing crime through prevention
Predictive policing is a criminological technique that uses advanced algorithms to forecast criminal behaviour. It allows police to track individuals and prevent crime before it occurs. However, there are some concerns about its impact. These include the accuracy of the predictions and the effects it has on the criminal justice system.
Some predictive policing applications, such as the Kansas City No Violence Alliance, use network-analysis software to identify people who are likely to commit crimes. They use crime data to predict the locations and times of future crimes.
In addition, the Chicago Police Department implemented an algorithm that identifies people who are most likely to be the victims of gun violence. This was called the “heat list” and was developed by researchers at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Other predictive policing systems, such as the London Metropolitan Police’s Gang Matrix, score gang members based on the perceived risk to the community. Although the application appears to be effective, it raises issues of racial bias and a lack of accountability.
Predictive policing is a controversial issue. Although it is an effective way of preventing crimes, there are also drawbacks.
Predictive policing has received much attention in recent years. A number of police departments believe that predictive policing is a potential breakthrough in reducing crime. However, the practice of using data-driven predictive technologies is highly questionable. Several academics have raised concerns about the use of algorithms and data mining. Ultimately, the effectiveness of predictive policing may be hampered by a lack of transparency and accountability.
One of the most significant drawbacks of predictive policing is that it could be used to disproportionately target poor people. If it is effective at reducing crime in some communities, it can lead to more police officers being deployed to underserved neighbourhoods. It also perpetuates racial profiling.
Another concern is that predictive policing can undermine the goal of building community trust. Police patrols in high-risk neighbourhoods can make people feel unsafe. Moreover, officers might mistake benign activity for suspicious behaviour.