Predicting? Or Profiling?
Predictive policing is rooted in the notion that it is possible, through sophisticated computer analysis of information about previous crimes, to predict where and when crimes will occur. At universities and technology companies in the U.S. and abroad, scientists are working to develop computer programs that, in the most optimistic scenarios, could enable police to anticipate, and possibly prevent, many types of crime.
Some of the most ambitious work is being done at UCLA, where researchers are studying the ways criminals behave in urban settings.
One, who recently left UCLA to teach at Santa Clara University near San Jose is working to prove he can forecast the time and place of crimes using the same mathematical formulas that seismologists use to predict the distribution of aftershocks from an earthquake.
Another builds computer simulations of criminals roving through city neighborhoods in order to better understand why they tend to cluster in certain areas and how they disperse when police go looking for them.
We'll bet a shiny new dime the new "Predictive Analysis Unit" is all over this witchcraft.
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