In response to reports about the Chicago Police Department's (CPD) use of computer algorithms to predict crime, a practice called "predictive policing," the following statement can be attributed to ACLU of Illinois Police Practices Project Director Karen Sheley:
The Chicago Police Department should not be using a secret database to predict those most likely to be involved in crime and violence, without explaining to the public how the list is created. The CPD claims that it has identified people most likely to be involved in violence, but refuses to share the factors that put someone on the list or how the formula identifies them. They say this is just “math,” built on existing data and information. The CPD should explain how the math works.
The list is not harmless. People on the list are subject to enhanced prosecutions and have armed police officers show up at their door. Enhanced prosecutions can lead to more time in prison for someone – a serious life-altering event.
We are at a crisis point in Chicago regarding community and police relations. Transparency is critical to restore faith in the system. The CPD has refused to provide details about this secret list. “Trust us” is not a substitute for transparency. We need sunshine on the creation and use of the strategic subjects list.
Watch Karen Sheley discuss predictive policing on WTTW's Chicago Tonight.