Desmond Patton, an assistant professor at Columbia University, along with other researchers is planning to stop gun violence in Chicago using social media.
Gang violence in Chicago has been in prominence over the past few years. The rate at which people are shot and killed is alarming. According to police officials, there have been 500 homicides in Chicago this year and over 3000 people have been shot.
A lot of Desmond Patton’s students on Chicago’s South side found it difficult to concentrate at school. He tried to understand the reason for their lack of focus and he was stunned.
“As I was sitting and talking to kids they would be like, my best friend was sitting there yesterday, he’s dead, or my brother was shot yesterday,” Patton recalls. “I was like ‘How can I sit and focus on grades and test scores when these young people are losing people day to day?’”
Patton has stated that he is doing the best he can to change the situation. The ordeal of his former students motivated him to start his research in creating an algorithm he believes can thwart possible homicides and violence in Chicago. To achieve his goal, he and his team of researchers are building up ways to keep track of activities on social media which Paton supposes is affiliated with violent crime in the area.
The assistant professor’s idea was supported by Columbia University, as they awarded him a $100,000 grant which will help him in building up computational tools to detect and predict communication on social media that can lead to gun violence in Chicago.
Patton stated that the algorithm is different from what police departments use; his model has to do with the examination of data by a team of researchers, young people to interpret social media context on platforms like Twitter and Facebook and the complete analysis of data results by scientists.
Desmond Patton’s effort in trying to stop violence is just delightful. He has stepped up and is trying to solve the problems in his society, which is actually the job of the police. An assistant professor took it upon himself to make Chicago a better place. The police could learn a thing or two from this Black man’s brilliant idea.