IN THE AFTERMATH OF FERGUSON, CAN PREDICTIVE POLICING SAVE ST. LOUIS?
For those who would like to see police change their methods in the wake of Ferguson — and shift toward problem-solving and community relationships rather than patrolling — HunchLab looks like one method of data analysis being swapped for another. It may be more objective and may lead well-meaning police commanders to be more thoughtful about what’s driving crime, but that’s little comfort to the young black men stopped and searched. “It’s another example of the county police selling themselves as more professional,” Chasnoff said, “but maybe it’s just a more professional use of the same bad ideas.”
Throughout his shift, Officer Keener witnessed hints of simmering distrust. At one point, several children danced in the street, which he said was locally understood to be an insult to police. Later on, just outside one of the HunchLab boxes, he drove by a house where, he said, a drug dealer lived. A suspicious-looking rental car was parked outside. As he slowed down and peered out, the car door opened and a woman — black, maybe mid-30s — emerged. She pointed at the police vehicle to someone in the car and scrunched up her face in disgust. Keener turned back toward the dashboard screen and rolled away.