Predictive policing requires sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning (ML) technologies to help computer systems learn what crime patterns to expect. Predictive policing software vendors often talk about “predictive analytics” as the solution in law enforcement scenarios.
But the police officer on the street doesn’t need sophistication. They need simplicity.
This isn’t limited to predictive policing. The most groundbreaking products in history were those that used sophisticated technology to simplify specific tasks: Apple’s iPod simplified music listening, Google reduced its interface to a single search box, and Netflix eliminated trips to stores -- and, afterward, dropping DVDs in the mail -- to return movie rentals.
Similarly, police officers don’t need “predictive analytics.” They need predictions: Where crime is likely to occur, who the victims are likely to be, who the criminals most likely are.
In fact, the more the individual police officer has to know about predictive policing, the worse the system is.
Good predictive policing gives law enforcement personnel everything they need in the easiest possible way: areas on maps, locations where they should deploy their cars, simple statements about where crime may shift since it is starting to drizzle.