LAPD Officials Defend Predictive Policing as Activists Argue Method Is Biased, Call for Its End

Protestors are seen at a July 24, 2018, meeting on the LAPD's use of data in policing, including predictive policing analysis that pinpoints crime hotspots. (Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Protestors are seen at a July 24, 2018, meeting on the LAPD's use of data in policing, including predictive policing analysis that pinpoints crime hotspots. (Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Early each morning, computers spit out maps of Los Angeles, marked with red squares where a complex algorithm has judged that property crimes are most likely to occur.

As police officers patrol the streets, they keep these areas in mind, perhaps taking a detour to pass through on the way to a call, or warning people not to leave valuables in their cars.

But so-called predictive policing and other ways that the Los Angeles Police Department uses data to fight crime are sounding alarm bells for civil liberty and privacy groups, who engaged in a heated debate with department brass at a Police Commission meeting Tuesday.

The activists lambasted the methods, which identify crime hotspots as well as “chronic offenders” who are likely to commit crimes, as biased against blacks and Latinos, with some calling for them to be abolished.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.