Pre-Crime Software: 'Holy Grail' Or Biased Against Minorities?:
"As predicted, pre-crime software has swept the nation, with departments at all levels trying to benefit from the Utopian promise of catching them before they commit.
However, critics are realizing that is turning into a new method of profiling from which there can be no escape.
Sgt. Charles Coleman popped out of his police SUV and scanned a trash-strewn street popular with the city’s homeless, responding to a crime that hadn’t yet happened.
It wasn’t a 911 call that brought the Los Angeles Police Department officer to this spot, but a whirring computer crunching years of crime data to arrive at a prediction:
An auto theft or burglary would probably occur near here on this particular morning.
Hoping to head it off, Coleman inspected a line of ramshackle RVs used for shelter by the homeless, roused a man sleeping in a pickup truck and tapped on the side of a shack made of plywood and tarps.
“How things going, sweetheart?” he asked a woman who ambled out. Coleman listened sympathetically as she described how she was nearly raped at knife point months earlier, saying the area was “really tough” for a woman.
Soon, Coleman was back in his SUV on his way to fight the next pre-crime.
Dozens of other LAPD officers were doing the same at other spots, guided by the crime prognostication system known as PredPol.
“Predictive policing” represents a paradigm shift that is sweeping police departments across the country.
...But privacy and racial justice groups say there is little evidence the technologies work and note the formulas powering the systems are largely a secret.
They are concerned the practice could unfairly concentrate enforcement in communities of color by relying on racially skewed policing data.
And they worry that officers who expect a theft or burglary is about to happen may be more likely to treat the people they encounter as potential criminals..."