I had written about the practice, adopted by some police departments, of predictive policing. Here's the abstract of a new article about the practice.
Andrew Guthrie Ferguson, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law, has published Predictive Policing and the Future of Reasonable Suspicion. Here is the abstract.
Predictive policing is based on the theory that by analyzing past crime patterns and crime data, police analysts can identify future hot spots of crime. Using this predictive modeling, police officers are directed to patrol areas of expected crime for additional police attention. These small hot spots of heightened police presence are poised to become the centerpiece of a new smart policing strategy in which law enforcement resources are directed to targeted locations before the crime occurs. The initial results have been strikingly successful in reducing crime.
Predicting the impact on constitutional rights in those targeted hotspots may be a bit more complicated. One of the unintended consequences of predictive policing technology may be the erosion of Fourth Amendment protections for individuals in those high crime areas.
This article addresses the Fourth Amendment consequences of this police innovation, analyzing the effect of predictive policing on the concept of reasonable suspicion. For example, what happens when patrol officers arrive at the predicted area of crime? If officers observe suspected criminal activity informed by the predicted information, should that information factor into the reasonable suspicion calculation? What are the constitutional consequences of this predictive suspicion? Are data driven “hunches” any more reliable than personal “hunches”? How will this predictive information affect courts addressing whether the individual officer had individualized suspicion of a suspect? These questions have not been addressed by the courts and need sustained consideration.
The article argues that in its idealized form, predictive policing can contribute to the reasonable suspicion analysis and would survive constitutional scrutiny under existing Fourth Amendment precedent. However, predictive policing may expose a weakness in the current reasonable suspicion doctrine, and thus may cause a reevaluation of how courts currently analyze the impact of “high crime area” designations in Fourth Amendment cases.
The full text is not available from SSRN.