Last October, I published a list of cities that appeared to have contracted with Predpol, a "predictive policing" company, based on research provided to me by an anonymous source who used clever methods to uncover the customer list.
Predpol (previously) is a "predictive policing" company that sells police forces predictive analytics tools that take in police data about crimes and arrests and spits out guesses about where the police should go to find future crimes.
"Predictive policing" is the idea that you can feed crime stats to a machine-learning system and it will produce a model that can predict crime. It is garbage.
UT Austin sociologist Sarah Brayne spent 2.5 years conducting field research with the LAPD as they rolled out Predpol, a software tool that is supposed to direct police to places where crime is likely to occur, but which has been shown to send cops out to overpolice brown and poor people at the expense of actual crimefighting.
Researchers from the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (previously) reimplemented the algorithm Predpol predictive policing system that police departments around America have spent a fortune on in order to find out where to set their patrols, and fed it Oakland's 2010 arrest data, then asked it to predict where the crime would be in 2011.
Santa Cruz, California police are testing prototype software that predicts where crimes may be committed in the next few days. The deputy chief of police thinks that it may help police patrol areas that aren't hotbeds of shady activity. Santa Clara University mathematician George Mohler developed the algorithm. — Read the rest