Washington, DC—University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law Professor and noted predictive policing expert Andrew Guthrie Ferguson has again provided insight to media on the complicated subject.
The Washington Post recently examined whether software that can identify general areas in urban areas where crimes may occur next is the 'holy grail' of police technology or if it will be used disproportionately against minorities.
Prof. Ferguson, who is putting the finishing touches on a book about big data and policing, told the Post he hopes it's used properly but has concerns:
Ferguson, the UDC law professor, said predictive policing raises a host of fundamental concerns and questions. He questioned how police will ensure the accuracy of the vast reams of data the systems rely on. An error could unfairly cast suspicion on a location or individual.
Ferguson also wonders how predictive systems will affect officers. He anticipates forecasts will be used as a factor in officers’ decisions to reach the “reasonable suspicion” threshold to stop people on the street and could color the way officers approach stops.
“When you are told to be on the lookout for a particular crime in a particular place, that has to affect what you are going to do."