Richmond police chief says department plans to discontinue ‘predictive policing’ software

Richmond police chief says department plans to discontinue 'predictive policing' software

Richmond police Chief Chris Magnus told the East Bay Express the department plans to discontinue paying for a “predictive policing” software service due to concerns over its effectiveness.

In 2013, the department signed a three-year contract with Predpol, a company founded by mathematicians that uses historical crime data and algorithms to identify future crime hot spots. Police departments can then place resources on those hotspots to prevent crimes.

With the city of Oakland considering using the software, the Express did some research on whether Predpol actually works. The newspaper claims it did not find concrete proof.

Although Predpol claimed responsibility for Richmond’s significant reductions in crime, Magnus doesn’t see it that way.

“In Richmond crime went down, yes, but now it’s going back up,” Magnus told the Express. “We’re seeing double digit increases.”

He added:

“We’re not going to continue [using Predpol once the contract ends]. Our plan going forward is to rely less on predictive policing and more on what we learn through our crime analysis process and through the beat officers’ familiarity with the areas they’re assigned.”