I was some kind of Twitter-maniac this weekend. Normally, I don't tweet a lot of articles because I don't think it's the best use of the discipline, but it seemed like every time I turned around, I was reading interesting pieces about technology, security, evidence, law or the economy (as it pertains to us) that I thought would be of interest. If you're one of my followers (how creepy-sounding is that?!), I hope you'll check them out.
This article begs further examination, however. The police force in Santa Cruz, California is experimenting with using mathematics to predict where crime hots spots will occur – then deploying resources to those likely hot spots.
I wrote about this back in January. It kind of takes on the pathology of the movie, Minority Report. At the time, I said, "We don’t arrest people for crimes they haven’t committed, yet." We still don't; but it sure would be convenient to be in the vicinity waiting for them when they do.
In theory, it seems like a great tool – using history of prior crimes to predict future ones; but it was the following comment by a patrol officer that raised my eyebrow (just one, mind you):
"[The program] doesn't give me legal reason to arrest somebody just for being in my hot spot, but it gives me good reason to stop and ask what they are doing,"
My question in response to that statement is, "No, it doesn't give you legal reason to arrest somebody, but does it give you reasonable suspicion?"
It's a rhetorical question because, absent any additional facts, we can't really answer. However, I know one person who would definitely be asking it; a good defense attorney.