It mainly comes down to knowing where and when to deploy officers. One of the tools used in the 7th District, HunchLab, blends crime statistics with socioeconomic data, weather info and business locations to determine where crimes are likely to happen. Other tools (such as the Strategic Subject’s List and ShotSpotter) look at gang affiliation, drug arrest history and gunfire detection sensors.
If the performance holds, It’ll suggest that predictive policing can save lives when crime rates are particularly high, as they have been on Chicago’s South Side. However, both the Chicago Police Department and academics are quick to stress that algorithms are just one part of a larger solution. Officers still have be present, and this doesn’t tackle the underlying issues that cause crime, such as limited access to education and a lack of economic opportunity. Still, any successful reduction in violence is bound to be appreciated.