Police Departments Employ Controversial “Predictive Policing” Tactics


A strategy known as predictive policing, which uses data on a person to forecast their participation in future crimes, is being introduced by law enforcement across the country, according to the

New York Times

. The program uses information from a person’s social network, criminal record and substance use history to predict the likelihood of the person committing future crimes. If a person is found to have a high likelihood of committing a crime, he or she is considered “hot” and is closely monitored.

This strategy is causing concern amongst civil rights groups, who question its legality and efficacy.

 Ezekiel Edwards, director of the Criminal Law Reform Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, told the

New York Times

that these types of strategies tend to legitimize racial profiling and could result in the targeting of innocent people.  

“Our concern is guilt by association,” Edwards told the New York Times. “Because you live in a certain neighborhood or hang out with certain people, we are now going to be suspicious of you and treat you differently, not because you have committed a crime or because we have information that allows us to arrest you, but because our predictive tool shows us you might commit a crime at some point in the future.”

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