×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Increasing Role of Predictive Analysis In Police Work

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the before-it-happens dept.

Crime 180

elucido writes "A growing number of law enforcement agencies, in the US and elsewhere, have been adopting software tools with predictive analytics, based on algorithms that aim to predict crimes before they happen. From the article: 'Without some of the sci-fi gimmickry, police departments from Santa Cruz, California, to Memphis, Tennessee, and law enforcement agencies from Poland to Britain have adopted these new techniques. The premise is simple: criminals follow patterns, and with software — the same kind that retailers like Wal-Mart and Amazon use to determine consumer purchasing trends — police can determine where the next crime will occur and sometimes prevent it.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

180 comments

If they can prevent a plane from crashing ... (1, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814873)

When prediction goes, one could always predict that, given a time frame, something will definitely happen - such as plane crash
 
If TPTB is really interested in saving lives, they could have done more to predict future plane crashes and then do something to prevent it from happening
 

Re:If they can prevent a plane from crashing ... (5, Insightful)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815419)

> police can determine where the next crime will occur and sometimes prevent it

No need to predict, why the heck have they not stormed the banks, arrested any of the significant financial fraudsters, yet? Oh... yeah, there is only Libery and Justice for some [salon.com] . Silly me.

America’s two-tiered justice system – specifically, the way political and financial elites are now vested with virtually absolute immunity from the rule of law even when they are caught committing egregious crimes, while ordinary Americans are subjected to the world’s largest and one of its harshest and most merciless penal states even for trivial offenses. As a result, law has been completely perverted from what it was intended to be – the guarantor of an equal playing field which would legitimize outcome inequalities – into its precise antithesis: a weapon used by the most powerful to protect their ill-gotten gains, strengthen their unearned prerogatives, and ensure ever-expanding opportunity inequality.

Re:If they can prevent a plane from crashing ... (4, Interesting)

kraut (2788) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815521)

Did someone forget to tell Bernie Madoff about his immunity?

Re:If they can prevent a plane from crashing ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40815595)

Bernie Madoff made the mistake of stealing from rich people.

Re:If they can prevent a plane from crashing ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40816089)

And you think the rich didn't lose any money in the stock market and real estate crashes? LOL. Yep, the rich don't invest any of their money there.

Re:If they can prevent a plane from crashing ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40816161)

And you think the rich didn't lose any money in the stock market and real estate crashes? LOL. Yep, the rich don't invest any of their money there.

Of course they lost money, but they also got bailed out, unlike the rest of us who lost our shirts and got evicted by the sameself league of rich bastards who got bailed out with our tax money. The best part is that they them selves pay no taxes to speak of.

Re:If they can prevent a plane from crashing ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40816177)

The rich (the REALLY rich, not the ones who think they are rich or just got their money last week) actually GAINED from the stock market and real estate crash. They got bailout money AND got to keep the property (which on the paper is worthless but still worth more than they paid for it) AND still have their claims against the poor saps whose names were on the loans.
It like they say you only get good deal when no one else have any money.

Re:If they can prevent a plane from crashing ... (2)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year and a half ago | (#40816511)

Bernie got 'lucky' in how long his scam went on and the scale. He managed to keep it going long enough to make national news when it broke and make people want to make an example of him, at the same time that he's simply old enough that 'dropping dead of natural causes' is a fairly likely event any given year.

If he'd been caught(as he was predicting at the time) when he was in his 50's, he'd already be out of prison.

Re:If they can prevent a plane from crashing ... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40815589)

It is apples and oranges. Crimes happen because of the opportunity and the ability to get away with it. If you can track these factors, you can predict where crimes will occur. Simple things like installing street lights and the intelligent deploying of police help to reduce crime. There are also items of a psychological nature like cleaning up graffiti, repairing roads and sidewalks, and planting trees that make criminals think they are in an area where it is harder to get away with a crime.

Crime is very much an economic force. While the actors involved aren't always particularly intelligent, they are predictable. People like to use words like 'honesty' and 'honorable', but most citizens would commit a crime if the factors of opportunity and the ability to get away with it were highly in their favor.

Re:If they can prevent a plane from crashing ... (4, Insightful)

iceco2 (703132) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815783)

I actually worked on predicting when aircraft will malfunction (and crash) and we had a huge database with
everything that happened to the planes to work for, and we didn't get much results.
So upper management brought in a highly paid consultant, which crunched our data for 6 months.
He finally gathered everyone in a conference room to announce his amazing results,
he found an outstanding correlation: planes that fly a lot are more likely to malfunction or crash then planes that don't fly.

Re:If they can prevent a plane from crashing ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40816109)

Did he manage to notice the other outstanding correlation: Planes that crash end up not flying a lot? (but remember, correlation is not causation)

obligatory Philip K. Dick reference (1)

Rezazur (677119) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814885)

I thought Tom Cruise tried that already and how that worked out, huh?

Re:obligatory Philip K. Dick reference (1, Insightful)

vgerclover (1186893) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815027)

Hello precrime [amazon.com] and thoughtcrime [amazon.com] ....

Re:obligatory Philip K. Dick reference (1)

vgerclover (1186893) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815035)

Fuck, I meant to link to 1984 [amazon.com] on the second link...

Re:obligatory Philip K. Dick reference (5, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815545)

I knew you were going to make that mistake, but I wasn't sure warning you was the right thing to do.

Re:obligatory Philip K. Dick reference (1)

MatthewCCNA (1405885) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815989)

I knew you were going to make that mistake, but I wasn't sure warning you was the right thing to do.

Warning them would have violated causality and could have created a paradox leading to the destruction of our world, however, it's Monday morning and there is a security policies meeting I don't want to be included in, so go ahead.

Re:obligatory Philip K. Dick reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40815567)

Better link: http://www.defectivebydesign.org/amazon1984

but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40814887)

nobody predicted this would be the first post. Or the second.

Re:but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40814915)

nobody predicted this would be the first post. Or the second.

Instead they predicted it would be the third.

Cue Minority Report (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40814889)

As long as they don't try to jail anyone for a crime that was 'supposed' to be committed but wasn't, I'm fine with this.

How would we know ? (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814941)

I mean, how would we know that no one has been thrown into a jail cell because of that ?

There are thousands upon thousands of arrests been done every-single-day and while most of those arrests are justified, I can't guarantee (and I do not think anyone can guarantee) that all the arrests had been done in a kosher manner
 

Re:How would we know ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40814953)

If you want to give cops rabbinical training, you pay for it.

Re:How would we know ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40815007)

If you want to give cops rabbinical training, you pay for it

 
The Muslims will cry foul
 

Re:How would we know ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40816079)

If you want to give cops rabbinical training, you pay for it

The Muslims will cry foul

Can't we just train them as imams too? And while we're at it send 'em to seminary school, then let go take mescaline with some native Americans and later ayahuasca with some rain forest indians.

I forget where I was going with this.

Re:How would we know ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40815077)

I can personally guarantee that not all arrests had been done in a kosher manner.

Re:How would we know ? (3, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815547)

By definition all lawful arrests are "justified", they are nothing more than the physical precursor to a formal accusation (charges), in many cases they are also used simply to "keep the peace" by physically separating drunks from each other long enough for them to "sleep it off" . Are people charged and jailed for dubious reasons? - Of course, the US alone has half a million "drug criminals" locked up. Do innocent people get framed or otherwise wrongly convicted? - You bet, I believe Texas executed an innocent man not long ago. Is there a better alternative to the western system of justice? - There's always room for improvement* but I've yet to hear anyone describe a fundamentally new system.

*suggested improvements to the US system: 1. Ban capital punishment. Think of it as insurance. I personally have no moral objection to the concept of the death penalty, some people certainly DO deserve to die. I do however have a moral objection to killing innocent people who do not deserve the death penalty. The track record of the death penalty, whenever and wherever it has been implemented, is such that a great number of people who did NOT deserve to die have been put to death by the state.

2. Stop circumventing judges with pre-trial plea deals, sure remorse should count in the prisoner's favor, but it should be unconditional remorse, not the bargaining-chip kind of remorse used to negotiate "justice" between two lawyers.

Re:How would we know ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40816413)

...a great number of people who did NOT deserve to die have been put to death by the state.

[Citation needed]

Future-hacking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40814929)

Assuming that all software can be hacked (bug exploitation, social/user engineering, false data training etc.), this seems to just open up a whole new Pandora's Box.

And lots of consultant employment opportunities.

Re:Future-hacking (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814971)

Yes think of all the friendships and cards left in 2/3rd world nations as this is exported. Over years many would feel very happy around the nice people from the USA.
Training in the states, hardware upgrades, new deals and notes on dissident expats shared.

Re:Future-hacking (1)

qbzzt (11136) | about a year and a half ago | (#40816035)

Smart criminals would be able to hack this system. However, most serious crimes are committed by people too stupid to find safer ways of making money.

Just a higher tech version of what cops already do (5, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814939)

I imagine patrol cops go where they expect some action may occur (or to stops that offer cheap food/drink for the uniformed). This sounds like a higher tech version of that, basically taking the instincts out of the equation and substituting it with statistics. Perhaps adds more coordination at the central office level too although I'm sure that also already occurs.

Statistical analysis (5, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814967)

It all boils down to statistical analysis

Let's say you own a grocery store, and there's one particular item that shoplifters like to steal

You, as the owner, can do one of three things -

A. Stop carrying that item in your store

B. Keep that thing close to the counter to cut down on shoplifting

C. Fix a hidden vid cam near where you put the thing and start recording
 

Re:Statistical analysis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40816085)

You, as the owner, can do one of three things -

D. Give away the item for free, as a promotion.

E. Put the item inside large boxes that are impossible to hide.

F. Ask customers to pre-pay and keep the item behind the counter.

G. Poison the item.

H. Pay local MC gang for protection services.

etc etc

Z. PRofit!11!!!!11

Re:Just a higher tech version of what cops already (4, Interesting)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815001)

Ok, so first, if the crime doesn't happen, how do you know you prevented it? Maybe it just didn't happen.

Second, doesn't this seem like there will now be a market for anti-prediction? That is, find out where the cops think the crime will occur, and do the crime somewhere else. Because the cops will be somewhere else, your chances of getting caught are less.

Re:Just a higher tech version of what cops already (5, Insightful)

Raptoer (984438) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815299)

Ok, so first, if the crime doesn't happen, how do you know you prevented it? Maybe it just didn't happen.

.

You don't look at individual crimes, you take a selection of areas with similar crime statistics, implement the prediction system in some of them, then see how the crime rates change.

Second, doesn't this seem like there will now be a market for anti-prediction? That is, find out where the cops think the crime will occur, and do the crime somewhere else. Because the cops will be somewhere else, your chances of getting caught are less

Perhaps there will be a market for anti-prediction, but the types of crimes that this aims to prevent (or even just be more response to calls about) aren't usually done by sophisticated criminals. Any anti-prediction system would first have to be able to aggregate crime statistics then apply the prediction algorithm, then find areas outside the predicted zones. If you have all that already, you might as well just sell the prediction algorithm to the police rather than make an unethical program that has a very small (and secretive) user base that wouldn't pay much for your system in the first place.

Re:Just a higher tech version of what cops already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40815719)

I can actually see organized criminals being very interested in using "anti-prediction". And also selling messed up versions of prediction algorithms to the police.

Re:Just a higher tech version of what cops already (2)

silanea (1241518) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815539)

Ok, so first, if the crime doesn't happen, how do you know you prevented it? Maybe it just didn't happen.

You look not at one single crime but at the crime rate for a specific location and crime category. If the rate decreases after you start your prediction-based policing and the crime rate for this category does not increase in another area during the same time (interestingly this is one step proponents of public video surveillance very often happen to overlook), then your approach very likely has prevented such crimes in the targeted area.

Re:Just a higher tech version of what cops already (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815699)

If you have technology to predict where crimes are going to take place, selling it to the police is going to be way, WAY more profitable than using it to commit crimes.

Re:Just a higher tech version of what cops already (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815709)

"Ok, so first, if the crime doesn't happen, how do you know you prevented it? Maybe it just didn't happen."

Exactly. Cops have no interest in preventing crime since they are evaluated by how they apprehend the criminals and how many of them.
They'll just use any advance knowledge they'll get, to be in position when the crime occurs to catch the criminals, not to force them to do another crime in a less predictable way.

Re:Just a higher tech version of what cops already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40815971)

Ok, so first, if the crime doesn't happen, how do you know you prevented it? Maybe it just didn't happen.

Simple. Say you predicted a robbery of a gas station.

Scenario 1: The robbers come and try to rob the gas station, but your hidden cops immediately interfere and arrest the robbers. Then you've prevented it.

Scenario 2: The hidden cops wait for ten hours, and finally go away frustrated because the predicted robbers did not come. Then you didn't prevent it.

Re:Just a higher tech version of what cops already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40816023)

"Ok, so first, if the crime doesn't happen, how do you know you prevented it? Maybe it just didn't happen."

Bingo.

Technology that cannot be proven good or bad either way. Kind of like airport scanners, or red-light cameras. They do have one thing in common though--WE pay for all this crap. That being said, fuck the shill that keeps posting this same shit on Slashdot, over and over.

Re:Just a higher tech version of what cops already (4, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815031)

I imagine patrol cops go where they expect some action may occur (or to stops that offer cheap food/drink for the uniformed). This sounds like a higher tech version of that, basically taking the instincts out of the equation and substituting it with statistics. Perhaps adds more coordination at the central office level too although I'm sure that also already occurs.

Technically a good cop with good instincts is applying statistics. The human brain is built to recognize patterns and to use those patterns to make predictions. Some of this is done at a subconscious level. So its not that we are necessarily introducing statistics, its seems more that we are using a much larger data set to mine patterns from. Still, as you say, a high tech version of what we already do.

Re:Just a higher tech version of what cops already (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40815053)

No shit sherlock.

Re:Just a higher tech version of what cops already (4, Interesting)

Raptoer (984438) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815275)

Unfortunately individual police officers were drawing from a much smaller pool of data which was then put through their personal biases. If an officer had a racial or cultural bias then they may perceive an area as having more crime, when the actual statistics don't match.

Worked on such a project 15 years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40815651)

If nothing else, it allows officers' hypotheses to be tested against real facts, rather than just what they THINK is happening. For example it showed that most burgularies were being done by kids after school. It revealed that the stop searches were happening in the wrong place. It gave clear patterns of time when things were happening. Of course the data in imperfect; it depends on people reporting crimes. Never forget that most crime is opportunistic and done by people with highly chaotic lives. Therefore if you identify the things that trigger their behaviour and provide policing when those triggers are present, you should have a positive effect. And the fact that crimes rates are down - to the distress of the police unions who realise that this means there needs to be less officers - suggests that someone somewhere in the justice system is doing something right (posted anonymously given my police involvement then...)

Re:Just a higher tech version of what cops already (3, Interesting)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815983)

Technically a good cop with good instincts is applying statistics. The human brain is built to recognize patterns and to use those patterns to make predictions. Some of this is done at a subconscious level. So its not that we are necessarily introducing statistics, its seems more that we are using a much larger data set to mine patterns from. Still, as you say, a high tech version of what we already do.

Very true. I cop friend of mine often gets asked "how did you know it was me?" and his answer is "because you always commit crime x by doing y."Ashe puts it, most criminals are stupid, or at least we only catch the stupid ones. This analysis just builds on what people's brain does naturally, with a more robust data set as you point out. Plus, it never forgets a crime.

Please (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about a year and a half ago | (#40816331)

I imagine patrol cops go where they expect some action may occur

Provided it occurs in the richer enclaves where the Officer Bob bully routine is easily done, yes. But I suspect even in moderately-sized urban areas, there are implicit no-go zones for beat cops, lest they get got.

Frightening implications (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40814987)

Given the trend towards developing 'smart' cities like South Korea's Songdo (http://www.tnr.com/article/books-and-arts/magazine/104874/rosen-verbeek-technology-morality-intelligence) this kind of technology might easily be what totalitarian states of the future will use to subdue their states with. Food for thought....and AIs

Re:Frightening implications (1)

Ricwot (632038) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815277)

Please, Songdo is a nice city with excellent restaurants and some great bars, but the whole smart city thing is a little over-hyped.

Only works so long (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#40814989)

Thieves will learn to mix it up, such as tossing dice on a map.

You are assuming here (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815043)

You are assuming here, that thieves are actually smart enough to do so. Most common crime thieves simply lack the brain power to randomize their victims, M.O. and such and not pee their pants at the same time.

Unfortunately, society can't or won't afford catching smart thieves and most methods used by law enforcement in general only catch criminals that make obvious mistakes. The smarter thieves usually end up in politics, banking or the stock market.

Thinking like a criminal (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815091)

If you want to catch a criminal, you need to think like a criminal

To be successful, you, as a criminal, must know your victim's vulnerability - either they are alone, weak, or they are far away from others' ear shot .... and ... this is important - the place you commit your crime must be familiar to you - or it wouldn't be so easy for you to get away - and in cases involving murder - you, as a criminal, must also know where to dump/bury/hide the body before you commit the murder

Many times crimes were solved because of the sheer sloppiness of the criminals

As for throwing dice on the map - I'm afraid it would not be easy - unless of course, the new location happens to be a familiar spot for the criminal
 

Re:Thinking like a criminal (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815273)

If you want to catch a criminal, you need to think like a criminal

To be successful, you, as a criminal, must know your victim's vulnerability - either they are alone, weak, or they are far away from others' ear shot .... and ... this is important - the place you commit your crime must be familiar to you - or it wouldn't be so easy for you to get away - and in cases involving murder - you, as a criminal, must also know where to dump/bury/hide the body before you commit the murder

Many times crimes were solved because of the sheer sloppiness of the criminals

As for throwing dice on the map - I'm afraid it would not be easy - unless of course, the new location happens to be a familiar spot for the criminal

Sorry Fred, you have to knock over the coffee kitty at police headquarters.

Re:Thinking like a criminal (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about a year and a half ago | (#40816121)

If you want to catch a criminal, you need to think like a criminal

And if you want to evade police, you need to think like the police. I.e. run their algorithm, and commit your crime where the algorithm says it is least likely...

Re:Thinking like a criminal (1)

ultranova (717540) | about a year and a half ago | (#40816425)

And if you want to evade police, you need to think like the police. I.e. run their algorithm, and commit your crime where the algorithm says it is least likely...

You need not only the algorithm but also its input to predict the output. And if you have the know-how to get both, why would you prey on people at street corners instead of stealing credit card info online? It's a crime with lower risks and higher profits and you can do it from the comfort of an office rather than in the streets.

Only randomizes so much. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40815139)

Kind of hard to randomize the environment which is an important component to most crimes.

Re:Only works so long (1)

Teun (17872) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815553)

Yeah when I come out I'll never again use Google Earth to zoom in on that mansion the same day a bought a sledge hammer and a balaclava...

Identifying mass murderers made easy... (5, Funny)

geogob (569250) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815023)

The software checks if person of interest holds a Facebook account. Voilà! If he or she doesn't, it should mean he/she will commit mass murder. Couldn't be easier, I guess...

Re:Identifying mass murderers made easy... (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815113)

The software checks if person of interest holds a Facebook account. VoilÃ! If he or she doesn't, it should mean he/she will commit mass murder. Couldn't be easier, I guess...

 
I guess the cops should arrest all those new-born babies - they don't have their fb accounts yet, or do they?
 

Re:Identifying mass murderers made easy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40815165)

You'd be surprised....

Re:Identifying mass murderers made easy... (2)

Decker-Mage (782424) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815417)

You'd be surprised....

Actually, I wouldn't. I've lost count of the new friends I am supposed to approve that are just days into this world.

Re:Identifying mass murderers made easy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40815573)

Facebbok is irrelevant: The algorithm is is actually:

If SetGuilty( !( IsPolice() || IsPolitician() || IsRich() ) )
{
        goto jail;
}

You forgot one variable ... (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815817)

Cunning

Those who are cunning are less likely to end up in jail

Those who are less cunning are more likely to end up in jail

Assuming both of them committed similar crimes

Facebook abstainers (4, Funny)

hoggoth (414195) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815103)

Start by rounding up all those suspicious Facebook abstainers!

Re:Facebook abstainers (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815337)

But how can you contact them? Or get to know them for starters? After all they don't have a Facebook account!

Re:Facebook abstainers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40815571)

You put out a press release that says all non Facebook account holders are mass murderers and then go and catch all the new signups.

Woweezowee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40815141)

I'd think that if the police had purchased statistical modelling software it wasn't for the purpose of predicting crimes (pointless), but simply making forward estimates on the types of crimes and geographical distribution.

Sometimes law enforcement is just that, trying to stop bad people doing shit to other people, without it costing society too much. but that's be a boring article about numbers and cost estimates.

Find ALL the hidden variables (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815167)

Wasnt this an episode of Numb3rs?

Re:Find ALL the hidden variables (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40815479)

More like every episode.

Re:Find ALL the hidden variables (1)

TheMathemagician (2515102) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815561)

Yes Charlie Eppes came up with a model in a few hours that predicted the behaviour and location of a group of criminals and interfaced seamlessly into criminal databases and detailed maps of City streets and buildings.

Predictive Analysis in Crime Prevention (1)

guttentag (313541) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815189)

I hear this is working pretty well for them. They've already discovered that people who don't use facebook are mass murderers in training [slashdot.org] . The real challenge is trying to figure out who these people are, what they look like, what they are doing, and how much gold they have in Farmville, because the software is currently only able to figure this out for people who are on facebook. This is also made more difficult by the fact that people who don't use facebook are more likely to be intelligent, self-aware, exhibit behavior that does not conform to the patterns of the pack and exhibit a phenomenon known as "free will," which wreaks havoc on their predictive models.

Re:Predictive Analysis in Crime Prevention (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815213)

... exhibit a phenomenon known as "free will," which wreaks havoc on their predictive models

 
You would be surprised that no matter how much "free will" those of us who do not use fb exhibit, there are still patents that are traceable, and predictable
 
We are, after all, still human beings
 

"Police work" ? (0)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815203)

Maybe it's just because I watched The Wire, but: what the fuck do you call police work, and who the fuck do you call police?

Licking the asshole of fascists isn't police work, buddy. It's not even good food.

Re:"Police work" ? (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815281)

It's not even good food.

I sense some disagreement in the form of moderation... though I'm not hearing arguments? Surely, if you can click, you can also type while eating, so do enlighten me.

That's a new approach (2)

guttentag (313541) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815209)

Quoted verbatim from the article:

“When police departments are laying more sworn personnel, they can do more with less."

I would never have thought to try that. If you get more personnel laid, they can do more with less? Just think how much more productive programmers could be under such a system!

purchasing trends (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815219)

Well, if they are using software similar to what retailers use to 'predict purchasing trends', then all they are looking at is statistics of past crimes, looking at graphs that plot locations, seasons, times, types of crime against a database of past criminals, their ages, past crimes committed, other personal info, but how are they going to account for all other metrics? What about advertising? Whatever is advertised in the media at the time will have more sales. Also what about people without criminal records, are they looking at everybody?

Obviously they are not looking at every possible home invasion, every possible burglary, every possible theft and every possible murder. They probably have some prioritised locations and people they are interested in, banks, shipping lanes, famous people, who are they looking to protect?

Are they excluding entire classes of people from their software, like are all of the politicians excluded? All the people connected to the ruling class? Because if they want to prevent REAL crimes, mass murders, theft on huge scale, global scale even, they wouldn't have to go too far, they just have to look at the people in power, running the place.

All this means for police is that... (1)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815271)

...rather than the 48 hours to solve a crime (before the chief busts them down to traffic duty so fast their heads will spin), they have 48 minutes.

Oh shit, cops! (1)

Kevin Fishburne (1296859) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815339)

A police state is a state policed. We all live in one or more. Of course they'll do all they can to better police their state. It's their job, and we pay and vote for them to do it. Corporations license new technologies to them to do it better. Maybe if all citizens just aspired to be "officers" of the institution they'd be happier. Maybe... Just maybe, one should simply succumb and obey one's master.

what about the increasing role of... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40815487)

balls in ur face. faggot.

Re:what about the increasing role of... (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815599)

balls in ur face. faggot.

I missed that - is it a new interrogation technique?

The problem is (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#40815597)

The problem is someone at some time will realise that "Predictive analysis" has a racial and religious "bias". People will ask "why are most police looking for muggers in black areas and terrorists in Muslim areas"? The answer - that this is where most of the crimes occur, is something that police have known for some time, but been instructed to ignore. Do you really think that the PC brigade will allow it back again because a computer says so? Now I know that in the case of blacks it is due to social deprivation, etc. - I am not blaming them - but it is a fact that they commit more crime.

Step one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40815635)

Step one: where do blacks and Mexicans hang out...

precrime (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40815885)

Before it's a crime, it's a precrime! http://noagendatv.com/natv-list/2257-na351-the-mentalist-before-its-a-crime-its-a-pre-crime.html

Idoru (2)

Smask (665604) | about a year and a half ago | (#40816101)

So they copied and automated an idea from "Idoru" by William Gibson. Colin Laney, a guy who earns his living by manually sifting thru data to find dirt on media personalities. He finds a woman who is about to commit suicide, if I recall it correctly.

Ethical Questions? (1)

assertation (1255714) | about a year and a half ago | (#40816173)

Going on the assumption of the predictative accuracy of this technology what ethical imperative does the government have to reengineer these situations to make crime not tempting or not an option?

So a computer will tell them where to patrol (1)

ToddInSF (765534) | about a year and a half ago | (#40816207)

instead of just sitting around eating donuts and having rough gay sex in dark alleys...

Can't wait for them to use this for (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | about a year and a half ago | (#40816295)

Speeding tickets since "sarcasm on" speeding laws are about safety and not revenue enhancement "sarcasm off"

It's a good idea, until.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40816303)

This seems like an interesting system. As others have said, this is just some more advanced use of statistics that are already used in police work anyway.

What I find somewhat scary about this is not the system itself, but the communication around it. By telling people that we can predict crime and that it work, we're slowly preparing for the Minority Report type of systems that will come in some years. Statistics are fine when you apply them to a large population (like an area of a city), but it will become much more problematic when we'll start applying them to individual to keep them locked up because they *might* be dangerous.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...