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Police Data-Mining Done Right

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the way-its-supposed-to-be-used dept.

Privacy 321

enharmonix writes "Courtesy of Bruce Schneier, it's nice to hear something good about data mining for a change: predicting and stopping crime. For example, police in Redmond, VA, 'started overlaying crime reports with other data, such as weather, traffic, sports events and paydays for large employers. The data was analyzed three times a day and something interesting emerged: Robberies spiked on paydays near cheque cashing storefronts in specific neighbourhoods. Other clusters also became apparent, and pretty soon police were deploying resources in advance and predicting where crime was most likely to occur.'"

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321 comments

The Last Days of the Permanent Floating Riot Club (3, Interesting)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187135)

"I'm losing my nerve," Benny said mournfully. "Six times this past year we've flicked into flash crowds, and three times I threw away everything I had because it looked like the cops had time to put us under riot control. Once I was right. Twice I was wrong. That's just not good enough." He braced himself. "I think I'll quit." There, he'd said it.

A hole in space. [amazon.com] Larry Niven.

Are the police going to share the location information?
I might want to watch. Cops live!

Re:The Last Days of the Permanent Floating Riot Cl (1)

djasbestos (1035410) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187217)

Well, more than that, CopWatch...keep an eye on 'em. I think it's good to publicize this as well, as it will discourage criminals, but it may also point out places that are vulnerable.

In any event, I'd prefer the police look at "independent" factors and correlation to recorded crimes than "community policing" where they stop people and then see if they can find anything suspicious. Bravo to the police...if they park in front of a likely target, it'd probably discourage crime, thusly proving its effectiveness if the trends noticeably change. This may be an interesting one to keep an eye on.

Re:The Last Days of the Permanent Floating Riot Cl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20187565)

Bravo to the police...if they park in front of a likely target, it'd probably discourage crime, thusly proving its effectiveness if the trends noticeably change.
Hmmm... more police presence keeps crime down? Whodathunkit?

Did we really need data mining for that, though?

Re:The Last Days of the Permanent Floating Riot Cl (3, Insightful)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187837)

Did we really need data mining for that, though?
To do this without creating a police state where there are police everywhere yes we do.

Strategic and tactical placement of resources to maximize effect without resorting to profiling or harassing citizens is a good thing.

What do the police say when they stop you? (0, Redundant)

tonsofpcs (687961) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187149)

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.

That's some fine police work, Lou. (5, Funny)

Treskin (555947) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187183)

Do they really need to spend thousands of dollars analyzing data to determine there's more crime around check-cashing stores on paydays?

Re:That's some fine police work, Lou. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20187235)

Yes, next question!

Re:That's some fine police work, Lou. (5, Insightful)

GregPK (991973) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187243)

I think thats just one thing that showed up on the radar. Something that someone may intuitively know may not be listened to by others without data to back it up. Things like they don't need to enforce traffic as much during foggy days because traffic is going slower already.

Re:That's some fine police work, Lou. (2, Interesting)

pnutjam (523990) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187491)

I wonder if it showed that drivers receive more citations toward the end of the month (when quotas are coming due...).

Re:That's some fine police work, Lou. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20187789)

How many states still have quotas? I know in my state its an indictable offense to require them, even as "action goals".

Re:That's some fine police work, Lou. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20187961)

I've been with units that do informal competitions with one another to see who can write the most paper when 'word comes down' that they aren't writing enough tickets.

Re:That's some fine police work, Lou. (5, Insightful)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187265)

That was one example, probably selected because it doesn't give much away.

Still, I have to congratulate you. This just wouldn't be Slashdot if we didn't get somebody denigrating the accomplishment. It's very gratifying to know that I post to the same board as so many people who can do everything with merely a stray thought, if they ever actually felt like getting around to it.

Re:That's some fine police work, Lou. (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187327)

This is a case of feeding cop experience into a database and using that for pattern matching. That begs the obvious question of why cops weren't doing this sort of pattern matching in their heads already. If I can figure out that payday (or the day after) is not the greatest day to be in the bank due to the sudden surge of activity, robbers should be able to do the same as well as the cops.

What happened to hunches and intuition?

The point of data mining to to find the NON-OBVIOUS relationships.

There's even a data warehousing product named just that.

Re:That's some fine police work, Lou. (4, Interesting)

egburr (141740) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187453)

They probably are, but they can't admit it, because without hard data to back it up they get criticized for "profiling".

Re:That's some fine police work, Lou. (5, Insightful)

jahudabudy (714731) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187721)

f I can figure out that payday (or the day after) is not the greatest day to be in the bank due to the sudden surge of activity,

Whose payday? We can't post cops at all of the check cashing storefronts (not banks) all the time, so which stores see the most crime after which companies' paydays?

If you can answer these questions with nothing but hunches and intuition, I'd suggest the stock market, not law enforcement.

Re:That's some fine police work, Lou. (1)

CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187407)

It also wouldn't be slashdot without the 'It wouldn't be slashdot ...' guy.

Re:That's some fine police work, Lou. (2, Funny)

ginbot462 (626023) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187843)

Mod parent up!

(p.s. It wouldn't be slashdot with out the "mod parent up" guy. Please follow with "moderation is busted" guy/gal...)

Okay (2, Funny)

Descalzo (898339) | more than 6 years ago | (#20188137)

Moderation is busted.

The cops busted him outside a check cashing joint on payday.

Re:That's some fine police work, Lou. (2, Interesting)

Treskin (555947) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187409)

Indeed, though still it seems the article is touting a major break through in crime prevention, but focuses on a point which should have been obvious to anyone. Certainly they can't disclose sensitive information, but there must have been a more gripping example somewhere in the study.

Re:That's some fine police work, Lou. (1)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187311)

Why? Are you saying they should have just saved the money and asked you?

Re:That's some fine police work, Lou. (2, Insightful)

solar_blitz (1088029) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187313)

Do they really need to spend thousands of dollars analyzing data to determine there's more crime around check-cashing stores on paydays?

I'm sure it also points out there's less crime around donut shops, too.

Seriously, though, that example the article cited seems like the one most people are likely to understand. Perhaps the article writer is less inclined to mention the more sensitive things like drug trafficking locations. That would hamper an investigation, wouldn't it?

Re:That's some fine police work, Lou. (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187591)

Do they really need to spend thousands of dollars analyzing data to determine there's more crime around check-cashing stores on paydays?

You know, when you get down to it, there's a lot of stuff that jumps out after the fact that says, "why the fuck didn't we notice that before?" But when you're doing the day to day work (in any field) you may ignore or not even know about what seems unbelievably obvious.

Just because this particular piece of information was the most prevalent in the story does not mean it's the only thing to come out of the reporting and it's certainly not the last thing that will be. Give it time. Data-mining's best fruits come from long term studies of data using a variety of methods.

Re:That's some fine police work, Lou. (2, Interesting)

harrkev (623093) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187851)

Do they really need to spend thousands of dollars analyzing data to determine there's more crime around check-cashing stores on paydays?
Yes, they do. It sounds obvious, but WHOSE payday do you use. Some people get paid every Friday. Others get paid on the 1st and 15th. I get paid on the 6th and 21st. My last job paid me every other Friday. Social Security recipients get paid once a month (not sure of date). Which payday do you choose?

Re:That's some fine police work, Lou. (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 6 years ago | (#20188159)

Well, it seems that the crooks have been able to figure it out without a computer. Or is it random chance that they all seem to show up when people get paid?

Should we be proud that we've created a computer database that can predict how someone who probably has at most a high school education has figured out? And besides, are you telling me that the database knows how many people get paid on which days so was able to tell you when to be there? Of course not, the computer knows jack about when people get paid. A blind man can see it from a mile away. Increase the police presence on every friday, the 15th, the first day and the last day of each month, taking into consideration the affect of weekends

What next, are they going to tell us about a big study they've just that was able to determine that you need to increase the police outside of Madison Square Garden if they are having an event?

Sweet! (5, Funny)

Descalzo (898339) | more than 6 years ago | (#20188179)

I get paid on the 6th and 21st.

Which check-cashing place do you go to?

Re:That's some fine police work, Lou. (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 6 years ago | (#20188243)

That's nothing. They should look into the crime that occurs INSIDE the check cashing stores.

Interesting (4, Interesting)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187199)

I don't really tend to think in terms of the police having the job of preventing crime. I think there job should be to apprehend criminals who are involved in or have committed a crime. That said, I guess it is good if they have tools that better help them to schedule and plan enforcement. Like anything, it can be taken too far. I would think that what would separate 'good' data mining from 'bad' data mining would be transparency and over site in the process.
 
On a side note - I'm willing to bet that if someone had asked most street cops in that area - they wouldn't have needed software or data mining tools to tell you that cash checking places in bad parts of town, on pay days were areas of higher crime.

Re:Interesting (3, Insightful)

ari_j (90255) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187255)

Crime is best prevented by the fear of getting caught and punished. If police increase their presence in areas and at times where and when crimes are likely to occur, there will be a deterrent effect. However, that is only the unavoidable side effect. Cops aren't trying to prevent crimes - they are trying to better focus their resources to catch criminals. It just so happens that the former is a pleasant result of the latter.

Re:Interesting (4, Insightful)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187371)

Crime is best prevented by the fear of getting caught and punished

Says who? AFAICT, crime is best prevented by some minimum amount of personal freedom, reasonable living conditions regarding food, shelter, and education for all, along with some participation in matters of society.

Re:Interesting (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20187465)

Minimum personal freedom, reasonable living conditions regarding food, shelter, and education. Sounds like prison.

Re:Interesting (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20187517)

Sorry. That's where we (the US) are now. Anyone who wants can get a basic education, we have basic freedoms, you can participate in the process. You can get a job and earn enough for food and shelter. The people who say this isn't happening are people who want a easy path. A path that provides this stuff to them instead of providing them the opportunity to provide it for themselves.

Re:Interesting (0)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187797)

Sorry, that's not where we are at all. We do have basic education, but it takes a college degree to get any sort of decent job. Our freedom is incredibly restricted, one can't even smoke a joint without fearing prison. And the political process only gives lip service to participation.

Re:Interesting (1)

JDevers (83155) | more than 6 years ago | (#20188169)

Actually, since you are being an ass...crime is best prevented by chips embedded in our skulls that detonate when either tampered with or when ever you think "bad thoughts." Ultimate prevention.

Since neither that nor what you are proposing is very likely to happen, what the GP said is true. Having cops be at places where crime is likely is a good deterrent to crime.

Re:Interesting (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#20188193)

Well, not ever country is the dangerous place the US has let itself become, despite the best economical chances.

Re:Interesting (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#20188229)

Having cops be at places where crime is likely is a good deterrent to crime.

No, it's useless as I said, since the crime will move elsewhere, just like teenagers that hang out in a mall.

Not really. (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187415)

Crime is best prevented by the fear of getting caught and punished.

Not really. Jail time and such has almost no effect on changing criminal behaviour.

Cops aren't trying to prevent crimes - they are trying to better focus their resources to catch criminals.

Possibly. Or maybe they are trying to prevent crimes.

The criminals are not worried about going to jail AFTER the crime is committed. But if there is a cop there at the moment they would have committed the crime, most criminals will not commit it.

Means
Motive
Opportunity

With a cop right there, the "opportunity" is removed. So no crime occurs. In general, the crime rate should go down because this isn't something that can easily be displaced. It seems to be tied to the area around a check cashing storefront. Increase the patrols in those areas and the crimes are not committed.

Re:Not really. (1)

SpecTheIntro (951219) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187909)

Not really. Jail time and such has almost no effect on changing criminal behaviour.

While the original statement (that crime is best prevented by a fear of getting caught and punished) is a bit suspect, this response doesn't really counter it. Jail time addresses recitivism rate, and as you pointed out, it doesn't do a very good job. But that doesn't address whether or not fear of punishment is an effective initial deterrent for much of the population--you're only saying that someone who ignores that initial deterrent is unlikely to be deterred by his/her incarceration. We have no way of estimating how many crimes per year are deterred by fear of punishment. (Which is why the initial statement is suspect.)

Besides that, good post.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20187571)

Actually, crime is best prevented through education and more efficient allocation of resources. Education, so that people can earn money using skills and knowledge that are of benefit to themselves and society (in which they can also take some pride) and so that they better understand the negative impact of criminal actions to themselves and others, and Efficient Resource Allocation so that fewer people are put into a position where crime is their only means to attain that which they need or want.

Fear of getting caught and punished won't apply much if someone is desperate enough, and for the true sociopaths, it will only encourage them to take more drastic measures not to get caught.

Re:Interesting (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187673)

There is no currently available way to allocate resources so that everyone can satisfy their wants. The depths of human desire dictate that fact. Believing that this is possible is folly typically caused by idealism.

A better way to prevent crime (3, Insightful)

Normal Dan (1053064) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187585)

Crime is best prevented by the fear of getting caught and punished.
Actually, an even better way to prevent crime is to make sure everyone has a good job and a nice place to live and is content with life. People tend not to commit as many crimes when things are going well and they have too much to loose.

imho

Re:A better way to prevent crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20187705)

Great, let's give them jobs as cops! :-)

Re:A better way to prevent crime (3, Insightful)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187847)

Actually, an even better way to prevent crime is to make sure everyone has a good job and a nice place to live and is content with life. People tend not to commit as many crimes when things are going well and they have too much to loose.
That's only true to an extent and only true for very specific crimes (ie. relatively low level theft). Not to mention one of the things you're listing there ("make sure everyone [...] is content with life") is flat out impossible. You can never have everyone content with life. There will always be inequity and jealousy and greed leading to criminal activity, and again this is only in relation to theft and crimes committed as a means to theft. Other crimes have any number of causes beyond a perceived need for comfort or contentment.

Re:A better way to prevent crime (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187877)

It's a nice thought but I think that argument would only work for a small subset of crimes, what about assaults, batteries, crimes of passion, rapes etc? For that mater what about Juvenile offends, they can live in a very nice house and want for nothing and will still commit crimes. Could be something stupid like graffiti or vandalism but as someone said above if the opportunity is not there then their is a good chance the crime won't happen.

Re:Interesting (1)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187513)

You obviously have never been robbed or assaulted before. Even if you are not physically hurt it is a tremendously horrible experience on many levels.

Also, preventing crime from happening means less money spent on the court and prison system.

Just because data mining can be taken too far doesn't mean they shouldn't use it. Is there anything a cop can do that can't be taken too far? There already is a lot of oversight within police departments. There is no reason to assume this wouldn't also have the same oversight. As long as it is lawful and within the confines of the constitution there should be no problem.

An example of good oversight of police methods can be found in Minnesota. The city of Minneapolis had red light cameras installed at many intersections. A few months later they were deemed unconstitutional by the state of MN. The system does work well, even in cases where technology comes into play.

Re:Interesting (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187809)

You obviously have never been robbed or assaulted before.
Wrong - on both counts.

Even if you are not physically hurt it is a tremendously horrible experience on many levels.
Yes - I know. That doesn't change the facts. There is a point of balance. I personally would prefer that balance to lean towards personal freedom and responsibility. I do not wish to have the police running around looking to apprehend people who haven't done anything wrong yet.

Also, preventing crime from happening means less money spent on the court and prison system.
I doubt it, but your guess is as good as mine.

Just because data mining can be taken too far doesn't mean they shouldn't use it.
I agree and never said otherwise. Feel free to double check me on that.

There already is a lot of oversight within police departments.
I wont take the same, 'you obviously...' tact - but I have spent a lot of time with police officers - on and off duty and I would say that this is a naive position at best. I am very pro law enforcement by the way - but not so much so that I'm blind to the realities of the situation.

There is no reason to assume this wouldn't also have the same oversight.
I'm not usually fond of assuming anything. That whole "ass out of u and me" thing has proven to be true too many times in my life. And all I am saying is that if police departments are collecting large amounts of data for this kind of work - that having citizens monitor the work would be a trivial thing to implement. It is basically a BI system - it is made to make information useful to people - so all the tools should be there to bring others in to keep an eye on things. This should include people who do not have a stake in the process - or anything to gain by hiding the truth. This kind of thing is good in all kinds of areas where people might be tempted to abuse any kind of system. It helps keep honest people honest, and protects them. Police, involved in work where they are paid to server the citizenry, should welcome any such oversite.

Like I said, I'm not against it - I'm cautiously for it. I'm cautious about lots of things - and in this case there is a lot at stake. A bad officer, alone, can ruin people's lives. A system that is loose and doesn't do all it should to avoid abuse on a wide scale can do even more damage. So any new tool should receive scrutiny.

Re:Interesting (1)

rwyoder (759998) | more than 6 years ago | (#20188087)

I don't really tend to think in terms of the police having the job of preventing crime. I think there job should be to apprehend criminals who are involved in or have committed a crime.

You just hit on a fact that should be obvious, most isn't apparent to most people, and which the gun-control crowd would like to ignore: The cops are there to apprehend criminals AFTER the crime has been committed. Unless you have a cop at your side 24x7, the cops CANNOT protect you.

This was drilled into me the night I was attacked by a raging drunken lunatic much bigger than myself, who dragged me out of my car one night in a traffic jam.

And something else I learned that night: John Q. Public is a coward. Dozens of people witnessed what was happening, and not one person came to my assistance. They were all busy locking their doors and rolling up their windows, while they watched.

If you are the victim of a crime, there will be no one you can depend on but yourself.

Re:Interesting (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20188215)

and which the gun-control crowd would like to ignore
 
yeah - and were both on the same page because 1) we learned the hard way and 2) we are not a part of the aforementioned crowd.
 
And on top of that I didn't even bring in the fact that most large city cops are already plenty busy. For our check cashing example - those places hire off duty cops for their busy times, and this makes complete sense. There is no reason for the tax payer to completely foot the bill for protecting their high risk endeavor. On every ride along I've done - we had our plate full from start to finish.

TV (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187201)

Looks like someone's been watching Numb3rs.

Wrong city listed in summary (5, Informative)

chiph (523845) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187229)

The city that won the business intelligence award for data mining is Richmond VA, not 'Redmond'.

Chip H.

Re:Wrong city listed in summary (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187369)

The city that won the business intelligence award for data mining is Richmond VA, not 'Redmond'.

But data-mining in Redmond WA found a spike in violent crime just after spikes in BSOD's.
         

Re:Wrong city listed in summary (1)

g0at (135364) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187665)

This is why the slashdot "editors" are so highly regarded, highly paid, highly esteemed, highly self-absorbed, ...

They hadn't thought of that before ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20187231)

Seriously with less cops on the street and more behind their desks they didn't do research like that 15 years ago ?

Really needed to datamine that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20187269)

I mean, any cop who had been on the force for a year could've told you that robberies go up on payday and even the most likely of spots.

Re:Really needed to datamine that? (1)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187703)

Just because the hands on staff sees what's going on, doesn't mean the bureaucracy is listening to them.
And that's not a problem limited to the police department, is it?

Shhhhhhhh (-1, Troll)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187277)

This is slashdot. Government attacking criminals is baaaaaad. mkay ?

Now close your eyes and go back to being a good slashdotter, mkay.

How long until it catches on? (2, Insightful)

improfane (855034) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187293)

How long till it catches on with the criminals?

Some people don't go to places at peak time to avoid queues, if criminals realise the police know the peak times, they can anticipate the strength of guard and where police are?

Knowledge like this can be used to both party's advantages. Some facts are obviously public knowledge such as weather.

I don't think it even takes well-organized crime to understand this.

How about the police force has a counter-itself division? It uses the public knowledge and works independent of the police to outsmart it -- the police can use this knowledge to anticipate counter knowledge usages...

Re:How long until it catches on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20187341)

In other news, better mouse traps are making smarter mice. News at 11.

So, criminals catch on and stop. People continue to use those places but get robbed less. Uh, what?

Re:How long until it catches on? (2, Insightful)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187515)

How long till it catches on with the criminals?

You haven't met a lot of criminals, have you?
As a group, they're not the sharpest pencils in the box.

That's not to say that they don't think they're "smarter than the cops".

Many are convinced that they can outsmart the cops, and thus have no fear of getting caught.
And with the concern for getting caught conveniently out of their mind, there is also no concern over the punishment, "cause I ain't gonna get caught, so there is no punishment."

Re:How long until it catches on? (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187813)

You haven't met a lot of criminals, have you? As a group, they're not the sharpest pencils in the box.
Yeah, but neither are the cops. And the smarter cops get sent after white collar criminals -- you know, embezzlers, file sharers, and the like.

Re:How long until it catches on? (1)

egburr (141740) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187537)

The police are watching for patterns in crimes. Sure, some criminals that consistenly avoid that pattern will avoid getting caught. If enough change, then new patterns will form. It would probably take a coordinated effort of a majority of the criminals to avoid forming a new pattern. Then the police are no worse off than they were before this was developed.

Re:How long until it catches on? (1)

desideria (140436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187563)

So you feel that criminals will start overlaying crime reports with other data, such as weather, traffic, sports events and paydays for large employers and analyze it three times a day ... to commit petty crimes like purse snatching outside of payday loan establishments?

Re:How long..? TraceBuster ^3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20188233)

Remember that movie with Mark 'y mark' Wallberg? Where they kidnapped and wanted to ransom the japanese gangster's daughter?

Dumbass Friend: Yo I'm ready to do this!
M.W.: What if they trace the call?
DF: That's why I have a tracebuster! To bust the trace on my call dog!
M.W.: But what if THEY have a tracebuster?
DF Yo I'm on it! Thats why I got a trace-buster buster! That way I can bust the trace on ...whoever is trying to bust the trace on my trace buster!
M.W: Cool.

some time later at the the girl's house...

(phone rings)
Girl's Dad: Hmm... Okay I turn on my trace, and my tracebuster, and my trace buster-buster, and my trace buster-buster BUSTER. Herro!? Stalls for time and get's him.

Yes, but (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187325)

... crime is in the process of relocating, and we are back to square one.

Re:Yes, but (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20187549)

Offshore, if we're lucky.

Re:Yes, but (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187973)

Offshore, if we're lucky.

Right, your friendly neighborhood drug addict will relocate to Sweden.

The Biggest Crime In The World: (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20187335)

( "Other clusters also became apparent, and pretty soon police were deploying resources in advance and predicting where crime was most likely to occur.')

is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. [whitehouse.org] .

How much more information do you need to detain, try, convict, and sentence for crimes against everyone?

From The United Gulags Of America With Love,
Kilgore Trout, M.D.

Quick use the Drizzle Phone baby! (1)

TheOldSchooler (850678) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187347)

This technology will be perfect for the Drizzle! This will give him plenty of lead time to get the clouds going-with the sheets and sheets of rain-it drenches the criminals!

Re:Quick use the Drizzle Phone baby! (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187639)

(Drizzle baby) [mcpeepants.com]

(to the rescue)

Yeah...uh

Hot damn become the Drizzle, baby
So cold ya know we never fizzle, baby
So hot ya know we goin' sizzle, baby
He wanna catch you, catch you at the kizzle, baby
Hardcore. Old school stylin'
Ten digits, even got a platinum album.
got a cadilliac, city block long
even got Spider-Man swinging on a ding dong
So much money 100 kat diamond ring
My man drizzy drizz, drizz got everything
When you see him, give my man big respect
Because the Drizzy Drizz just might break ya neck
Uh...he's the Drizzle, baby
Yeah...uh....he's the f^&$ing Drizzle, baby
Yeah...uh....drizzy drizzy baby
He's the mother-f^&$ing Drizzle, baby

(to the rescue)

(Drizzle, baby)

scanning the comments here on slashdot (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187365)

you come to one undeniable conclusion:

cop work is one of the most criticized, and yet at the same time vital, aspects of modern life

almost all the comments here have some sort of negative thought or smarmy remark on an aspect of this story. and yet a cop is the first person these same people will call upon and depend upon if they are ever victimized or robbed. and what are the cops doing? no, what are they actually doing? i'm not asking your paranoid distrustful hollywood-addled alter ego, i'm asking your cognitive ability to look at and perceive the reality of actual police work

typical human shortsightedness and lack of gratitude

it must be so thankless being a cop. you're there to protect people, and all they can do is reflexively depart negativity at you

humanity sucks. you are all so ungrateful

Re:scanning the comments here on slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20187609)

most people are dicks

All cops are people

therefore most cops are dicks

this is why cops deserve all the criticism they get

what are they actually doing?

at least in my area which is a decent suburb/rural community most of them sit around in unmarked cars or drive around in the new gas guzzling suv's and hand out traffic taxes. They occasionally get lucky and find a real "bad guy" by dumb luck.

Re:scanning the comments here on slashdot (3, Informative)

CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187615)

People go to the police because they are the only ones in our society who are given the right to use force and spy on people, not because we think they are the most qualified for helping us with our problems.

"most qualified" (2, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187793)

what exactly does that mean? what are the qualifications in your mind to becoming a cop? i'm going to take a wild guess and say that you would like to see higher standards when hiring cops. ok: now look at the way cops are treated, in your mind, and in the mind of the typical citizen: distrust, fear, hostility

now ask yourself why your stellar qualifications aren't met in new recruits. gee, maybe it has something to do with the general attitude towards cops? highly qualified people seek out jobs that are highly rewarding. if the general populace doesn't reward them with a feeling of gratitude for just doing their job, and in fact outright hates them, then you tend to not get qualified people. imagine that. treat cops like shit, get shitty cops. what a wacky consequence, huh?

in my mind, cops are like teachers. you think the power to use force and spy on people is a big deal? how about the power to shape young people's minds? both professions are extremely powerful, and yet both professions get little respect, teacher's financially get shitty little respect

it's so odd to me, but there it is: hostility, fear, negativity, disrespect, hatred... if society has a problem with their cops, society needs to look at it's own attitude towards the profession as the culprit, not the actual cops themselves

we now return you to your regulalrly scheduled cop-bashing thread

gee, i wonder why cops don't live up to your high standards (rolls eyes)

Re:"most qualified" (1)

CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) | more than 6 years ago | (#20188085)

Ask 100 people to list 10 respectable professions and 'Teacher' and 'Police Officer' will be on everyones list.

How many motorcade parades do you see for construction workers that get hit by cars while building the roads you drive on?

"if society has a problem with their cops, society needs to look at it's own attitude towards the profession as the culprit, not the actual cops themselves"

That is an insane statement. Replace the word 'cops' with 'lawyers', would it still be valid?

Re:scanning the comments here on slashdot (1)

krgallagher (743575) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187631)

"it must be so thankless being a cop. you're there to protect people, and all they can do is reflexively depart negativity at you"

My Father was a police officer for ten years before he became a judge. I appreciate the police. I grew up with them in my house. I actually walk up to them in public and thank them for their service to the community.

It amazes me the way the police are treated. Most people see them as the enemy, when the truth of the matter they are just like you and me.

Re:scanning the comments here on slashdot (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187979)

Cops divide the world into three groups -- cops, friends of cops (including families of cops, possibly EMTs and such), and enemies (everyone else). If most people see cops as the enemy, they are just returning the favor.

Re:scanning the comments here on slashdot (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#20188023)

. . . when the truth of the matter they are just like you and me.
Funny you should mention that.

Recently in my area, Broward (FL) deputy Chris Reyka was killed. There's a massive manhunt underweigh to find the perp and rain down cold justice. Just this morning I was watching the news and the quote was "this guy has no respect for the life of someone in the uniform, they certainly wouldn't have respect for anyone else."

Pre-emptive strike: I do NOT disagree. Murder in cold blood ought to be dealt with swifly and it's a completely justifiable response. The deputy wasn't even being careless, he was [reportedly] collecting license plate numbers on some parked cars to run them against the theft database. The killer ought to fry.

That said, murder isn't exactly a rare occurance. People get killed all the time and I have NEVER seen that kind of response. EVER. If they were really just like you and me, they'd have the same zeal for finding the murderers of common folk.

Yes their job is dangerous and yes they're needed, as someone who isn't as privilaged as you are to have an officer in the family I can't share your sentinents that they don't think they're better than the non-badged.

Re:scanning the comments here on slashdot (1)

Dusty00 (1106595) | more than 6 years ago | (#20188033)

The fact of the matter is they're not just like you and me. If your dad had a few too many drinks one night and was pulled over by his buddy Bob he's facing a considerably different situation than if I get behind the wheel after too much to drink.

Re:scanning the comments here on slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20187671)

humanity sucks. you are all so ungrateful

I...

So, ... ... ... you're saying I shouldn't be taking time out to listen to your thoughts and ideas?

Re:scanning the comments here on slashdot (5, Insightful)

analogueblue (853280) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187747)

Having had my apartment robbed, I can tell you that I did call the police. They sent a guy out over 24 hours later, who basically said "yeah, lots of people have been getting robbed around here lately", (note: i lived in a pretty nice area), "you probably won't get anything back. I hope you're insured." and left. No finger printing, no looking at the busted door, no follow up.

Add that to MANY instances of being harassed by cops for my car, my youth, being out late, etc... and it's hard not to have a negative view. I'm sure there are some good cops out there. I don't doubt it. But when I'm robbed they can't send a cop out that day, presumably because they're all too busy pulling over young guys in expensive cars and searching them without probably cause (I'm in tech, I'm not a drug dealer), or issuing speeding tickets for 25 in a 20 to meet their quotas.

Anecdotes don't make a rule, it's true, but they do color a persons opinions. I've interacted with law enforcement many times (speeding tickets, random pull overs, having my apt. robbed, car accident, firearms testing for concealed carry, etc...), probably about 25 interactions. Of those, one was reasonably positive (helped after my car died on the side of the road), a few were neutral (neither helpful not malicious or abusive), and the rest (about 20) were negative (screaming and threats, searches without cause, rough handling, rudeness, apathy, etc...).

heh ;-) (2, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#20188227)

there are silences in your anecdotes that speak volumes

of course there are cops that take out their frustrations on innocent people. these cops are far and few between though, and they always quickly overstep their bounds in such a way as to be removed from the street

meanwhile you talk about rudeness, rough handling, screaming and threats being the norm. so there seems to be a disconnect somewhere, since cops just don't go apeshit for no reason. cops are human beings. they act the same way you and i do. and yet you want to impart on us that cops are some sort of strange exotic force that is always abusing your fragile sensibilities. right

what's interesting about your anecdotes is that you don't frame any of these behaviors in any context. not that you deserved to be rudely treated, ever, no matter what you did. but it makes your depiction of cops nonetheless less trustworthy, because you seem to conveniently forget to mention aspects of your own behavior, any behavior, good or bad, that would make a cop go apeshit, regardless of you deserving it or not: miscommunication, for example

you were just merrily going along, and on most occasions, suddenly there were cops abusing you. "how'd that happen?" pffft

abcd...wxyz

doing nothing wrong...suddenly being abused by cops

hmmm- i wonder what the ... is? or rather, i just don't think the way you view your place in the events of your life to be very trustworthy. you are editting stuff out

i know people like you, who think like you, who tell anecdotes like you: you are always the victims, and never the aggressors, and you always wind up being victimized by the wheels of justice, somehow. of course, knowing something of the actual lives of the actual people who view their lives this way, i know some of what they edit out of their interesting depiction of themselves as constant victims

you leave too much out of your own bad behavior in how you see your life my friend. i don't trust you. you have a blind spot on your conscience when it comes to seeing your bad behaviors, i think, from what i know of people who's lives are led like you depict your life. always getting in run ins with the cops, and they constantly speak of their essential innocence and victimhood at the hands of angry pigs. never doing anything wrong (actually doing plenty wrong)

so all i have to say to you is "uh huh. right"

Re:scanning the comments here on slashdot (1)

ShaunC (203807) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187811)

almost all the comments here have some sort of negative thought or smarmy remark on an aspect of this story. and yet a cop is the first person these same people will call upon and depend upon if they are ever victimized or robbed.
Yes, I want the cops to be there if I get victimized or robbed; responding to such a situation is their job. I'm not so keen on having them data-mining and looking for crimes before they happen. There's a big difference.

Re:scanning the comments here on slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20188103)

Yeah, they might be on hand next time the criminal hits the little old lady who just cashed her retirement check. You don't want them to anticipate the criminal's action.... Uh, why don't you want the criminal caught and taken off the street again?

Re:scanning the comments here on slashdot (1)

HeathWater (968340) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187829)

People develop their bias based on their experiences. I believe most police are truly out to serve the public. I also believe some get in to the business for the power and others are swayed by the power they are given. That is why I believe most of the responses do have a negative 'feel'. I've only had two "good" encounters with law enforcement (out of about 20 or so), where the police person listened to me and helped resolve the situation professionally. All other encounters felt as if I were being persecuted for my race or my perceived position in the community. Yes they are necessary for civilization, but I believe there could be more oversight and better training. The same applies to the school district where I live. I live in Los Angles, CA.

Re:scanning the comments here on slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20188127)

People develop their bias based on their experiences.

I don't think this is true at all. Usually people develop their biases based mostly on what they see on television and on what they were told by their parents and teachers. Sometimes biases come from extrapolations of one's own exeriences, but that's as close as experience usually comes to bias. What we get from experience is just experience, which is an entirely different thing.

Re:scanning the comments here on slashdot (1)

SoulRider (148285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187897)

No, most of the criticism centers around the fact that it seems these police officers are so clueless it tooks millions of tax payer dollars (in purchasing the data mining equipment, cameras, etc.) for them to discover something that should be obvious to anyone trained in law enforcement. And frankly appears to be more obvious to a bunch of nerds avoiding work than the police force in question.

Oh come on (2, Insightful)

microbee (682094) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187901)

I almost never called a cop. One time I did because neighbor was making noise after midnight, and nothing happened. The second time I wanted someone to mediate between a tenant and a landlord, they wouldn't do it.

The only cases that I actually talked to a policeman were on the highway, and I had to pay hundreds of dollars and time to show up in traffic court.

Oh, and occasional phone calls to ask for a donation. "No thanks, I've paid my fine share of speeding tickets this year."

So don't lecture us what to think about police. We are taxpayers that pay them to do the work for us. We appreciate what they do but that's still their duty, and we'll not look up to them more than they deserve.

Re:scanning the comments here on slashdot (1)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 6 years ago | (#20188009)

humanity sucks. you are all so ungrateful

Yeah! And on top of that we stereotype and overgeneralize.

I HATE YOU ALL!

Re:scanning the comments here on slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20188063)

almost all the comments here have some sort of negative thought or smarmy remark on an aspect of this story. and yet a cop is the first person these same people will call upon and depend upon if they are ever victimized or robbed.

This is not necessarily hypocritical. It's perfectly possible to consider the police force as corrupt and incompetent while still acknowledging that there isn't anyone better to turn to when you are the victim of a crime. It's not like you can shop around for police departments.

Re:scanning the comments here on slashdot (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 6 years ago | (#20188101)

Grateful!? WTF!?

I have had about 10 negative experiences with police and about 2 that seemed positive simply because nothing terrible happened. My experiences are hardly atypical.

I'll start being grateful when there is something to be grateful for. If police focused on solving crimes and helping people instead of giving out speeding tickets and harassing nonviolent drug users I'd be real grateful.

I had a family friend die because the police blew off her frantic calls about her abusive husband. I had an acquaintance die in a no-knock drug bust. To the wrong address. I had a cop laugh at me when my house was burglarized. Even though my stuff was found, I never forgave that cop for being so unsympathetic. I also never forgave him for obviously scrutinizing my house for drug paraphernalia after seeing my hand-rolled cigarette butts in an ashtray. What an asshole.

A bunch of hostile unhelpful pricks on a power trip, hassling people and very nonchalant about actual crimes. That's what police are actually doing.

Re:scanning the comments here on slashdot (1)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 6 years ago | (#20188185)

it must be so thankless being a cop. you're there to protect people, and all they can do is reflexively depart negativity at you


A few of my friends are cops. I will never forget something one of them said to me. The conversation had something to do with someone complaining about him arresting/ticketing people. His response was: "I don't write the fucking laws! You do! You are a citizen, it is your job to change the laws if you don't like them! It is my job to enforce them!"

I think he had a fairly good point on that.

Re:scanning the comments here on slashdot (2, Interesting)

db32 (862117) | more than 6 years ago | (#20188259)

*CLAP* It is about time someone mentioned this. People seem to act like cops are all part of some vast conspiracy network, when the reality is, most of them are just trying to survive another night and get home and see their wife and kids. People here have some rather paranoid delusions, but look at it from the cop side, there are alot of people out to get them, and they can't hide. They wear uniforms (so help me God the first person who spouts off trying to split hairs about plain clothes cops gets a swift kick in the nuts) so they are easily identified by citizen and criminal alike, they carry shiney badges, and drive marked cars. They walk around with a big ass target on themselves to protect you.

That same cop that is infringing on your "right" to speed by hitting you with radar and fining you for having jammers is also the same cop that pushes you to the ground and takes a bullet for you when someone decides to hold up the convenience store. Guess what, even off duty, cops frequently wind up doing their job in emergency situations like this because that is what they were trained to do. Unfortunately for them, they usually don't have all their protective gear when something like that happens, so that bullet is far more likely to be fatal. I would hate to think how you would feel if you had just hastled that cop a day or two before for pulling you over for something.

Much like the military, the police force really is one of those jobs that "just doing their job" actually has to take precedence over their personal feelings. They have to rely on what the politicians decide and enforce that. I mean...if you have a military and police force just doing whatever they want...that is generally a really bad police state kinda environment. When you have them following orders one way or another, you just have to bear responsibility for putting the clowns in place that gave them the stupid marching orders. The solution is to fix the clowns and quit bitching about the people who are ultimately the few that are willing to make sacrifices for others which is rare enough, but they are also willing to potentially sacrifice their lives, which in our whiney self serving culture is all but nonexistant.

no kidding (1)

sleekware (1109351) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187395)

Robberies spiked on paydays near cheque cashing storefronts in specific neighbourhoods
You have got to be kidding me! I mean, No Way! You must have to do so much data mining to figure this one out!

What did this bit of information cost? (1)

FreeBSD evangelist (873412) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187427)

"Robberies spiked on paydays near cheque cashing storefronts..."

Well, duh!

Re:What did this bit of information cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20187625)

Well spotted. Your next mission, should you chose to accept it, will be to figure out which of the, say, 4000 cheque cashing locales in your average major metropolitan area to step up police coverage on at the appropriate time. Oh, and you have 100 floating officers with which to do so.

Good luck.

Why? (1)

do_kev (1086225) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187501)

Times like this make me unhappy that this information is being revealed to the public. Don't get me wrong, I think what they're doing is great, but this is just another example of information being revealed to make the public feel more safe that in actuality only bolsters the criminals the public is supposed to feel safe from. Granted, this isn't as bad as coverage of ongoing investigations which sometimes seems to reveal -way- too much information, but still.

Re:Why? (1)

akgooseman (632715) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187683)

That robberies occur around check-cashing businesses on payday is not surprise to anyone. I'd like to know what other patterns they found, but in the spirit of the parent post, why would the cops tip their hand to would-be criminals? All told, TFA is just a short fluff piece with no real detail apart. The city reports two consecutive years of double digit decreases in violent crime. There's a lot more going on here than extra patrols around the check-cashing businesses on Friday afternoon.

Pre-Crime Unit (1)

egburr (141740) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187613)

Sounds like they're working on the Pre-Crime Unit from Minority Report, but with computer analysis instead of involuntary, drugged slightly-mutant people. Overall, a good idea as long as they wait to capture enough evidence to prove that the crime was inevitable if they hadn't intervened.

Re:Pre-Crime Unit (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#20188145)

What the hell?
Why should it be illegal to be about to commit a crime?
Possesion of a tire wrench in your car would be illegal if you are in certain neighborhoods because you "must have been about to commit a crime?"

This relys on police being trustworthy as to whether you were "about to" commit a crime, which means that police have even more power.

"Let me search your car or I will arrest you for being about to punch me..."

In other news... (1)

RazboiniKSS (896594) | more than 6 years ago | (#20187651)

Robberies spiked on paydays near cheque cashing storefronts in specific neighbourhoods. Other clusters also became apparent, and pretty soon police were deploying resources in advance and predicting where crime was most likely to occur


Scientists found out that you get wet with water

That;'s what CompStat in NYC does (2, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#20188217)

The NYPD's CompStat system [wikipedia.org] has been doing that for about ten years now. It's working reasonably well. At first it was really effective, because career criminals tend to fall into predictable patterns. Crime in NYC has dropped enough that there's more randomness, and prediction is less effective.

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