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Predictive Policing: The Minority Report in Real Life?

In Philip K. Dick's sci-fi novel The Minority Report (which was later made into the blockbuster movie starring Tom Cruise), Precrime officers apprehend would-be criminals before they can commit crimes.

Well, it turns out that the Santa Cruz police department has a similar program. No, they don't utilize mutant precogs, instead they have something even cooler: a computer program that can predict when and where crimes will occur.

... Santa Cruz’s method is more sophisticated than most. Based on models for predicting aftershocks from earthquakes, it generates projections about which areas and windows of time are at highest risk for future crimes by analyzing and detecting patterns in years of past crime data. The projections are recalibrated daily, as new crimes occur and updated data is fed into the program.

On the day the women were arrested, for example, the program identified the approximately one-square-block area where the parking garage is situated as one of the highest-risk locations for car burglaries.

Erica Goode of The New York Times reports: Link (Photo: Jim Wilson/The NY Times)


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How is the first comment even remotely similar to a computer analyzing statistical crime data and predicting the likelihood of crimes in a specific area?

I guess a penguin is "kinda similar" to a pine cone since they are both native to the planet Earth.
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The NYPD has been doing ~kinda-something similar.

But in their case, they just entrap people into copping pleas by illegally searching their person.

.
It was on WNYC 93.9's show with Brian Lehrer(?).

-Basically, there is some sort of law that says possession of under a certain amount of MJ is not-prosecuted.

The cops pose an innocent question, get the person to pull it out of their pocket to confirm,

and then Arrest them for Public Display of a Controlled/Illegal Substance.

-In many cases, they just go to the area and stick their hands in peoples' pockets and down their pants.

These are frequently people who don't have the time or resources to fight it in court.
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