Predictive policing or targeted harassment?
Over four weeks, deputies in the Pasco County Sheriff’s Of?ce contacted Wojtecki or his household 21 times–in his house, at his gym, in his parents’ work. When Wojtecki’s elderly sisters refused to let deputies within the home during one of their frequent late-night visits, a deputy shouted,”You’re about to have some difficulties .” He threatened to compose the family a ticket for not having their address amount appropriately posted on their own mailbox.
Wojtecki was one of almost 1,000 Pasco County residents who ended up on a list of”proli?c offenders” created from the sheriff’s predictive policing program. The scope of the program, launched in 2011, was ?rst shown by the Tampa Bay Times at a stunning investigation published this September.
Predictive policing, or”intelligence-led policing,” is using calculations and huge troves of data to analyze crime trends.
Departments utilize predictive policing software to identify crime hot spots–but it can also be utilized, as in Pasco County, to create”risk scores” that supposedly identify individuals that are most likely to become perpetrators or victims of crimes. Even though Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco touted this program as a futuristic tool to prevent crime before it happens by retaining tabs on likely offenders, a former deputy interviewed by the Tampa Bay Times explained the app’s tactics this way:”Create their own lives miserable until they sue or move.”
The newspaper found eight additional households who said they were threatened with or obtained code enforcement citations for offenses such as missing mailbox numbers and overgrown grass. Three of the targeted individuals had developmental disabilities. A minumum of one family did move to another county to escape harassment.
Throughout the previous decade, many significant cities have started predictive lobbying programs, lured by the promise of an objective, high-tech method for reducing crime. But audits and study into the effectiveness of such efforts have yielded mixed to negative assessments. Chicago ended a predictive vetting program in January subsequent audits from the RAND Corp. and the city’s inspector general that revealed serious ?aws. Santa Cruz, California, prohibited the use of such policing programs in June. Portland, Oregon, ceased using among its own predictive algorithms in September.
Pasco County nevertheless defends its program.