It's straight out of the mind of sci-fi writer Phillip K. Dick, but “predictive policing” is not just a nifty plot device. Since late 2011, the Los Angeles Police Department has been using the tool in a number of geographic areas.
The software, also called PredPol, is developed by a team of academics and uses police data to predict and map where crime will likely happen. The algorithm’s latest convert is the city of Alhambra, which has become the first place in Southern California to implement its use on a city-wide scale. Research has shown that police officers perform significantly better with the the help of PredPol, but critics worry that its use might lead to racial profiling and violations of the 4th Amendment.
Mark Yokoyama, Alhambra Police Chief
Andrew Guthrie Ferguson, Professor of law at the University of the District of Columbia; he recently published a paper on prediction policing and possible 4th amendment issues in the Emory Law Journal.