Dozens of Cities Have Secretly Experimented With Predictive Policing Software

The use of PredPol—a predictive policing software program that after encouraged for a debatable, unproven “broken home windows” technique to regulation enforcement—is some distance more big than previously stated, in keeping with files acquired with the aid of Motherboard using public statistics requests.

PredPol claims to use an set of rules too are expecting crime in specific 500-foot with the aid of 500-foot sections of a town, so that police can patrol or surveil specific regions greater heavily.

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The files acquired by means of Motherboard—which include PredPol settlement documents, educational manuals and slide displays for the usage of the software, and PredPol agreement negotiation emails with government officers—have been acquired from the police departments of South Jordan, UT; Mountain View, CA; Atlanta, GA; Haverhill, GA; Palo Alto, CA; Modesto, CA; Merced, CA; Livermore, CA; Tacoma, WA; and the University of California, Berkeley the usage of public facts requests. These cities and municipalities are home to over 1 million people, according to the most recent census statistics available. In October, BoingBoing’s Cory Doctorow posted a tale speculating that these towns had contracts with PredPol, based on an nameless researcher’s take a look at of the enterprise’s URL structures and login portals. These files confirm those cities have or had relationships with the organization.

One of the files the organization gave to police that became acquired with the aid of Motherboard notes that predictive policing “blessings capacity offenders” by way of stopping them from committing crimes: “That’s one less chance for them to run afoul of the felony machine, and that does benefit them,” it says. Other files shared with law enforcement listing some of PredPol’s former customers, along with an extra 15 American and British cities; one of the documents notes the employer has “many more” clients which have now not been indexed. The organization additionally retains touchy crime records indefinitely on servers owned through a third birthday celebration.

Previous reviews nation that California cities Los Angeles, Elgin, Oakland, Richmond, and Milpitas—which together have a population of greater than 4.Seventy two million—all used PredPol’s software at one point. The maximum current available documents acquired by using Motherboard display that Modesto, Merced, and the University of California Berkeley nonetheless have contracts with the employer. Livermore does no longer plan to resume its agreement with PredPol, which results in this month, in keeping with those files.

PredPol slide shows covered within the files additionally declare that the organization had “current and near term deployments” in Santa Cruz, CA; Morgan Hill, CA, Fairfield, CA, Los Gatos/Monte Sereno, CA; Campbell, CA; Salinas, CA; Alhambra, CA; Lansing, MI; Seattle, WA; San Francisco, CA; Columbia, SC, and Manhattan, KS as of 2013. As of 2014, any other PredPol slide presentation claimed the organization additionally had present day and listen to time period deployments in Little Rock, AK; Kent, England; Reading, PA; “and much greater.” The motherboard has no longer confirmed if these contracts are nonetheless ongoing, but police departments in Columbia, San Francisco, and Los Angeles advised Motherboard they’ve “no responsive files” in reaction to public records requests filed with the businesses.

When reached for the remark by means of Motherboard, PredPol CEO Brian MacDonald said that the range of lively PredPol customers is a “private internal metric.”