Chicago police predict who can shoot and be shot

    Despite allegations of racist crime-predicting algorithms, such programs work. The special program allowed the Chicago police to compile a list of 1,400 people who could be shot or shoot someone: in 2016, 80% of the gunners were on this list, as well as 70% of the victims.


    In Chicago, a city with a population of 2.7 million, in 2015, 3,000 people were shot. For 2016 - already 240 people. This is the fault of the gang, with which law enforcement agencies are fighting hard. The main thing for the police is to prevent crimes, not to punish the criminals, and this program can help.

    The algorithm is created by Dr. Myles Wernick of the Illinois Institute of Technology. He explains that the algorithm takes into account the criminal activity of a person in the past, but excludes race, gender and ethnicity from the calculations. The “List of Strategic Subjects” contains 1400 people, who, according to the algorithm, may become victims or instigators of the shootout.

    The police use the list not to arrest each of the suspects, but for “personal notifications.” Social workers and opinion leaders living in the same districts meet with subjects from the list, communicate with them, try to dissuade them from violating the law in the future. According to Jonathan H. Lewin, a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department, the algorithm simply makes suggestions, but in no way replaces the person. The model is designed to inform about possible suspects.

    In 2016, more than 70% of the people who were shot were on the “List of Strategic Entities”. Of the shooters on the list were 80%. During the police raid on local gangs, 140 people were arrested, of which 117 were on the list.

    Despite obviously correct predictions, the society encounters such algorithms with suspicion. A spokeswoman for the American Illinois Civil Liberties Union states: “We are concerned. This is a database of citizens, compiled by unknown factors, and for people there is no opportunity to challenge the presence of his name in the list. How do you get on this list? We think it is dangerous to single out someone based on secret police information. ”

    In the California city of Santa Cruz , an algorithm is used that maps the possible gangster clashes: every day, patrolmen receive a new route with 10 “hot spots”. The analytical program began to be used in the courts to calculate the "risk assessment indicator" - but this is the algorithm, judging by the results of its workshould be improved.

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