Predictive policing isn't a new concept but it is increasingly being utilized by police departments across the nation as they seek to become more efficient in addressing local crime issues.
Sophisticated programs that link past behavior with other factors, such as known associates and frequented areas, are allowing law enforcement officials to better target their resources toward those most likely to be involved in criminal activity.
"We have a moral reason to do a better job at addressing violence in this community," said Jean Baker, a prosecutor in Jackson County, an area at the center of the push toward enhanced predictive policing practices.
Not everyone is pleased with the increased use of predictive policing.
Ezekiel Edwards, a director at the ACLU, stated, "Because you live in a certain neighborhood or hang out with certain people, we are now going to be suspicious of you and treat you differently, not because you have committed a crime or because we have information that allows us to arrest you, but because our predictive tool shows us you might commit a crime at some point in the future."
Despite the concerns, predictive policing strategies that utilize sophisticated algorithms to address local crime concerns will likely remain an important and ongoing tactic in addressing rising crime rates amid a nationwide reduction in police resources.
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