On April 24, 2016, the Wall Street Journal put up an argumentative article on its website on the issue of predictive policing. According to the article, police stations across the United States are turning to data analysis in order to increase their effectiveness. It is thus crucial to have a clear understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of predictive policing. Predictive policing involves looking at past criminal trends in order to predict future criminal activities and deter them from occurring. The article showcases two sides of the argument, with one expert highlighting the importance of predictive policing while another expert talks about the demerits of the new concept.
Jennifer Bachner believes that predictive policing will be instrumental in reducing police discrimination against minority communities. She also contends that decisions guided by data analysis will help foster better relations between the police and the surrounding communities. Furthermore, she argues that police departments need data and analytics to stop crime without increasing their operational costs (“Is Predictive Policing”, 2016.) Majority of police precincts across the country are currently under-funded, making it difficult to carry out their objectives. Thus, Bachner argues, the use of predictive policing will help rein in departmental costs in majority of these precincts.
On the other hand, Jennifer Lynch, an expert on data analytics, believes that predictive policing will contribute to more intense police surveillance on some communities (“Is Predictive Policing”, 2016.) The increased surveillance could not only lead to strained relations between the police and the said communities, and thus an increase in crime, but it has the potential of threatening the human rights of those under surveillance.
The expert also argues that predictive policing will be ineffective in reducing the crime rate. According to Lynch, the fact that predictive policing relies heavily on past crime data makes it ineffectual as only 50% of crimes are actually reported comprehensively. Thus, the model will miss half of the future crimes that do not fit past patterns.
Is Predictive Policing the Law Enforcement Tactic of the Future? (2016, April 24). Retrieved on 30/ 8/2016 from http://www.wsj.com/articles/is-predictive-policing-the-law-enforcement-tactic-of-the-future-1461550190