The fast-rising fascist, militarized police state is alarming, to say the least. A vulgar display of power manifests itself almost daily in such a repetitive fashion that the public seems to have grown strangely accustomed to much of the corruption. There is an undeniable sense of apathy that accompanies most people’s perspective in regards to police brutality. It is a classic example of ‘gas lighting’ the public, e.g., they are told by the police that their constitutional rights will be held to a high standard while simultaneously innocent victims are bludgeoned to a bloody pulp, on camera no less, and this threatens to bring public morale to a new low, it drags them collectively down into a deep, black microcosm of an internal abyss, plagued with indifference, inalterably helpless.
One constant theme that appears in pseudo progressive apologist articles, like Foreign Affairs, is that the constitution of the United States is becoming anachronistic, and continually fails to keep up with the fast-paced advances in technology. This leads to the false justification of trading liberty for freedom to bring an elevated state of security. The policy constructed to build this foundation of security is a beefed-up police force and an increased surveillance state.
There are many modern methods for tracking the population, one includes the transformation of police departments into ‘intelligence agencies’. ‘Predictive Policing’ attempts to determine when crimes will be committed, this is comparable to the way a weatherman forecasts varying climate conditions using complex computer models. This theoretical criminal analysis method produces various results including: attempts to identify future possible candidates for crimes, it links individuals to past crimes, and it also aims to determine the types of people who might become victims of certain crimes.
This theoretical model relies on past statistical analysis, and meta-data provided by every person’s ‘data exhaust’ which is in turn retrieved by corporations to construct forecasts and profiles of individuals.
The premise for the new theory of police work which is predictive policing is to utilize the growing science of neuro-economics, an analytic business model to assess a consumer’s wants and needs to determine the most effective, and prudent ways to sell the most products. They use a vast range of information. All the factors that come in to play are the consumer’s location, budget, spending habits, interests, beliefs, their income level and social status; what is conceptualized, is a profile of demographics, produced by advanced computer models which generate predictive algorithms to determine where someone will spend their money.
The process has been accelerated through specialized predictive trend software and internet meta-data, which analyzes a person’s web searches in very specific detail, it compiles such data as where their cursor lands, records of past purchases, social media usage, and even internet radio preferences, etc. based on all this information websites and stores can be altered to accommodate the most efficient ways to maximize profits.
The best example is new smart stores like Wal-Mart, which utilizes their surveillance system to map a customer’s whole experience inside the store—everything is catalogued into a database, from the moment a customer walks in the door to the moment they leave, their line of sight is mapped, where they go inside the store, how they get there, what they consider buying, what items they put back on the shelves, what items they eventually buy—all variables are recorded into a large database that will create a model of the store’s advantages and disadvantages.
Wal-Mart re-constructed most of their stores nationwide, a whole new aesthetic concept was formulated based on their findings–everything from shelf size to the exact color scheme was considered. This same method of statistics, probability, and data analysis based on places, people, and patterns is now incorporated into all police departments nationwide.
Treating criminology like running a business is considered progress, the new mentality is justified based on ‘saving time’ and being ‘proactive’ based on concrete numbers. This is sold in contrast to an idea of cops driving around all over without producing results.
In the past, cops apparently had so little to do that they were given quotas by their commanding officer, a practice that is illegal, and was vehemently denied, but nevertheless was leaked by brave whistleblowers inside the system, who were tired of the corruption.
Is this not a projection of the ‘idea of a criminal’ turning people into a pre-conceived caricature of villains? It is an extension of the concept of thought police, who through the targeting of specific dissidents can imply crimes are going to happen based on a narrative of ‘criminal behavior’ they create.
There are a number of pieces of ‘predictive policing’ software products being sold nationwide. The selling point of predictive policing software on many of the websites is that you can be ‘on the ball’, so to speak, by plugging in to the particular information of ex-convicts, you can stop crime, the idea that someone IS the crime they commit, that citizens possess static personalities, and we do not have free will. The prevailing implication is that everyone is guilty of something, that people are expendable units of energy, simply metrics to be observed and calculated.
There is a lively, competitive market for predictive software available to police departments across the country. The industry is rapidly developing, and the old community brand of policing is becoming an atrophied appendage of the sick and dying republic, giving way to the technocratic brave new world.
One company promoting top of the line predictive policing software is Hunchlabs. The tagline on this product is: ‘predictive policing software for precise ‘evidence’ based decisions.
A focused level of scrutiny must be directed towards this technology to analyze what the ‘evidence’ they so highly promote is based on. Because the decisions made in reference to this ‘evidence’ could be revealed as a baseless and discriminate beefed-up metric.
There are many features they promote to aid the next police department who happens to be hungry enough for omnipotent authority: an ‘advanced machine learning’ algorithm which meshes various crime theories: aoristic temporal analysis, seasonality, risk terrain modeling, near repeats, and collective efficacy to ‘forecast when crimes are likely to emerge’.
‘Predictive missions’, determines crime ‘hot spots’ with certain parameters set by individual officers or departments. These parameters are called ‘weights’.
One must further analyze what constitutes a noteworthy, or reliable ‘weight’—what is it based on?
‘Intelligence notes’, ‘spacial notes capability’ allows for the input of the latest information on ex-cons.
We have to acknowledge that everyone is innocent until proven guilty and the sixth amendment guarantees due process. The example used on the page for this product feature is: ‘john smith was just released from prison for burglary, he lives at such and such address, he is an 32 yr old white male with a tear drop tattoo.
‘Tactics’, design evidence based tactical responses; this is a section that allows the officer to input crimes in an area, called a ‘mission area’ when it is made into a ‘hot spot’ the officer gets suggestions from this section: patrol, review, or interview, i.e., a blueprint for the illusory comic book crime fighting scenario the computer module postulates.
The ‘sidekick’ section is a feature that displays relevant information in all pertinent fields listed above of all types of crimes assault, robbery, burglary, using a GPS it categorizes ‘predictive missions’ which seems to dictate based on past crime stats what type of information is populating most acutely, hence must be about to happen. It glorifies the all-powerful super hero image or unquestioned authority exercising its supreme power over a public of slaves, saying, ‘batman, meet robin’, which undoubtedly propels most power-hungry cops into feeding frenzy.
The Rand Corporation’s report on predictive policing rationalizes that the fourth amendment is not violated because the supreme court has ruled the public has no guarantee of privacy when the information is held by a third party; this is a symptom of fascism, because the corporate interests who should respect the privacy of its customers chooses to work with the government, and the police are exploiting a legal loophole that indirectly violates the fourth amendment. This is not even counting the actual direct fourth amendment violations that the police participates in regularly, but an example of a justification to steal everyone’s data via corporations.
The moral and ethical implications of this policing science must be carefully examined, will it be used for the good of society, will it respect individual liberties, or will it be used to further political ends by managing political dissidents in an authoritarian manner?
The ‘PREDPOL’ system is another piece of software that claims to be the best, claiming multiple times on their website to have more advanced ‘hot spot’ mapping systems.
Their main feature is that prospective clients will be able to ‘Predict Crime in Real Time’. It is claimed to actually predict crime before it happens as opposed to simply analyzing past crime data. This software, they mention ad nauseum, is similar to one used to predict earthquakes, it deploys officers to patrol to exact ‘place-based prediction box’ areas measuring 500 feet by 500 feet. The experts at Predpol also boast that their software predicts gun violence with a display of gun violations, assaults, and batteries, twice as accurately as other programs and the same as other crimes such as theft and burglaries.
The various pieces of police pre crime software, like in the business world that aims to make a profit, this technocratic police mentality attempts to create crime rather than acting as a preventative measure against it. If the true desire was to prevent crime, many factors that already contribute to it would be remedied, or eliminated altogether. Purposely contrived economic conditions, as an example, would be avoided, but are nonetheless encouraged through the medium of international market manipulation as can be observed by studying the Libor market scandal.
Intuitively everyone is aware of a certain neighborhood in their area, which would be considered ‘bad’, because one might always observe a strong police presence there. The reason why it is a ‘bad’ neighborhood is a very complex sociological issue, but we have to remember that aside from the common law system which provides the foundation for society contemporaneously, what is designated as a ‘crime’ is largely a subjective, not to mention abstract concept. What I’m referring to is a blatant class bias which is quite open, but is cleverly discarded due to constant distractions instigated by the corporate-controlled mainstream media. I’m referring to the obvious fact that the legal system can be bought. Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the major big banks cannot be prosecuted because they are ‘too big’. Take for example Wells Fargo bank consciously laundering over $400 billion in Mexican drug cartel money and getting a slap on the wrist, while newly legalized marijuana dispensaries are discriminated against because of their business being a ‘credit risk’ so Wells Fargo has issued a public statement about not issuing loans, despite new tax revenue projections, in Colorado alone, of $40 million that radically surpasses previous expectations.
This process of ‘intelligence-led’ or ‘predictive’ policing must be scrutinized heavily for the simple fact that intelligence agencies have proven throughout history to develop a life of their own, eventually operating independently of the original department, their secrecy and covert operations rationalized with the argument of ‘national security’, and responsibility displaced based on the concept of ‘plausible deniability’.
This new intelligence merger with the police force is another effort to implement stronger means of control onto the public, there are just too many variables that cannot be considered, the unique individual endowed by god with rights cannot be reduced to nothing more than a biological android who may be prone to misfiring once in a while, no, people have free will, and are subject to change with experience.