"Predictive policing" is all the rage at the moment, and it's only going to get bigger. According to the LAPD, using computers to triangulate higher at-risk areas for crime is working great, and they're now looking to expand their futuristic endeavors. What's more, GPS has confirmed with an LAPD spokesman that Tom Cruise has been hired as their new PreCrime division captain. More on this breaking story after the jump.
As the program is being currently used, officers are fed information from a computer database. The database collects information showing location, time, and types of crimes that could potentially be committed in given areas. That information is then used to generate prediction boxes - areas deemed higher-risk - and officers are told to "go in the box" and patrol against future crimes.
Despite seeing a 13 percent drop in crime in some areas, vocal opponents of the new computer-driven law enforcement are looking farther down the line. Burt Ferguson, a law professor at Stanford, thinks abuses will happen, and that it's only a matter of time before scandals erupt. "Oh, yea, it's a great idea," Ferguson said. "Tell a bunch of cops to go stand around in a 500 square-foot area and look for trouble. Nothing bad could come of that."
PreCrime activities include aggressively interrogating random pedestrians...
...but "will never devolve into" arresting people based on psychic premonitions.
"Mr. Cruise, our new captain, has a lot of experience dealing with pre-crime," LAPD spokesman, Ted Landrews, said. "We needed someone who could not only patrol a high-risk area for potential criminals, but someone who could also break through residential skylights, rappel down into a bedroom, and incapacitate a suspect's cognitive functions without blinking an eye. You know, just in case. Not that we would ever do that."
Tom Cruise was also adamant that his particular skill set will make everyone safer while adhering to every law in the book. "Patterns. That's all we're dealing with here," said a notably agitated Cruise. "Nothing crazy's going on, like, oh, I don't know. There's definitely no one predicting the future with their mind, if that's what you're thinking. Now let me go make this world a better place."
Cruise assured us - with rather large hand gestures - that PreCrime can become a reality "...if we just let it."
I was skeptical about Cruise's denial, so I snuck around back to see what was really going on.
Who's the girl with the shaved head?
Even though the future isn't set, you can rest assured knowing GPS will be keeping tabs on Cruise and his PreCrime antics. If there's one thing to keep in mind here, it's that bad things can happen when law enforcement operates on the wrong side of morality. Let's hope the LAPD doesn't resort to that.