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‘Minority Report’ policing Miami vice

April 24, 2015

Armed with high-tech software and years of crime data, Miami police believe they will soon be able to stop crimes by predicting when and where they will occur.

It sounds a little like something out of a science fiction novel, but the department is in the process of adopting a system called HunchLab that produces maps showing small areas where specific crimes are likely to be committed during shifts. The probability program is a geographical version of “predictive policing” software, which more departments are using — even if, in the words of one supportive cop, it’s “kind of scary.”

‘Predictive Policing’ is worse than ‘Minority Report’

June 30, 2014

The defenders and promulgators of data-driven, predictive policing — which is meant to anticipate crimes before they happen — face a PR problem: reassuring the public against fears that such methods are ushering in a totalitarian future reminiscent of the science-fiction film Minority Report.

Concerns about preemptive crime fighting through data hoarding and analysis are hard to assuage, however, because they are perfectly valid.

A lengthy feature published in the Guardian on Wednesday looked at the permeation of data-driven analysis in the LAPD and other municipal police forces. “As the ability to collect, store and analyze data becomes cheaper and easier, law enforcement agencies all over the world are adopting techniques that harness the potential of technology to provide more and better information,” it noted. “But while these new tools have been welcomed by law enforcement agencies, they’re raising concerns about privacy, surveillance and how much power should be given over to computer algorithms.”