A system which is known as “predictive policing” is used by most police departments in the country. They use various technologies and algorithms to try and predict crimes, but this system disproportionately targets Black people
A Black man was sent to jail for possession of marijuana. After serving his sentence, he’d get randomly stopped and frisked by cops. And whenever a crime occurs around him, he’d be on their list of suspects, even though there is absolutely no reason to believe he had anything to do with the crime. All this because an algorithm determined that he was highly likely to commit a crime again.
Among the various requirements for such algorithms, officers use past criminal histories, demographic information, economic conditions, and crime trends among others to try and predict crimes. It is reported that the system targets Black people, often tagging Black people with past criminal records regardless of the nature of their crimes as high-risk individuals.
Critics of this system say it is no better than a coin flip, with only about 20% of the people it tags as highly likely to commit a crime committing crimes again. It is possible that this system is responsible for the criminalization of African Americans. This system is a major reason for the prejudice against Black people displayed by police in the country.
The program was implemented in 2008 and could be responsible for the high number of Black people in prison, as these people could have been witch-hunted because they were tagged as high-risk individuals. It is currently unclear if this is simply a design flaw of the system, or maybe it was designed to work this way. Which is why we demand the algorithm be analyzed, and the report of the analysis released to the public. It is obvious the system needs to be updated to better serve as a tool to maintain equality between races.
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