Pre-Crime Click


A guide to all the latest gadgets and computer industry news. Click is in Chicago where the police are using tech to predict the location and perpetrators of future crimes.

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This week, fighting crime before it happens.


We are now more surveilled than we have ever been.


Authorities are gathering data on its citizens.


It would be all too easy to confuse the real world


Mr Marks, my mandate of the District of Columbia Pre-Crime Division.


I'm placing you under arrest for the future murder


of Sarah Marks and Donald Dubin, that was due to take


place today, April 22, at 0800 hrs and four minutes.


In the movie Minority Report, the Pre-crimes Unit race to arrest


would-be offenders before they have a chance to


Now, they use psychics but it turns out, something similar


In Chicago, where the violent crime rate has exploded,


law enforcement has been forced to try out unconventional


Authorities are attempting to combine various technologies


in an effort to predict where and when violent


Marc Cieslak went to Chicago to find out more.


Violent crime in Chicago has seen a dramatic increase.


RADIO: A 15-year-old male, shot in the neck.


We need a wagon with a body bag also.


The drug industry is what helps them fuel the violence,


by being able to pay for their activity.


In 2016, 726 murders were committed in the city, a 19-year high.


That's more than the number of murders committed in New York


Chicago is a city most famously known as the Windy City.


More recently, it has earned a nickname that few residents


That's because gun crime is so extreme in some


neighbourhoods, they are comparing them to war zones.


The issue has received increasingly negative attention in the US,


with President Trump tweeting, "If Chicago doesn't fix


the horrible carnage going on, I will send in the Feds".


But many believe that to fight crime in the city, first,


the authorities must understand its causes.


Eddie Bocanegra has for years worked to help young people surrounded


Now a director of the YMCA, he also serves on the mayor's


So this space here that you've got, what do you use this for?


So we use this space for a lot of our kids,


Many of them who are on probation or parole.


More importantly, kids who experience a lot


When you see the front page of a paper, saying a 15-year-old


person killed someone else, these are the kids.


The response from Chicago's Police Department is a new initiative,


driven by technology, which aims to predict where crimes


The University of Chicago's Urban Labs are assisting the police


in its efforts to integrate this technology into its operations.


We have a lot of expertise in analysing crime patterns


and trends in the city, from years of working with data


And so we are leveraging that expertise to really help


the Police Department think about where it should be


allocating its resources to be most effective.


So what kind of data or information is it that the police are providing


We have a number of datasets that we work with from them,


including data on crime patterns, actual crime incidents,


A number of different methods of analysis are used,


including machine learning and predictive analytics.


This is software which takes large volumes of data and tries


These trends can then help predict where a crime might occur next.


This is a heat map of homicides in District 7.


And we are looking at this year over year, from 2011 to 2016.


And basically, what you see on the map is the darker the red,


the more concentrated homicides were in a given area.


What sort of factors are you finding are influencing crime in these


Yeah, so, most of the prediction that we're doing is space-based.


So, yeah, it's locations that are nearby that


are high-risk locations, like a 24-hour liquor


store, a gas station, where people tend to congregate.


The weather seems to be playing a very big role in the data.


You know, we've just had a beautiful weekend and we just had


significantly worse amount of shootings than we had


The police are using these predictive tools to inform


the deployment of officers and resources to areas


where they think crimes are likely to occur.


Neighbourhoods in Chicago's West and South Side are some


It is these neighbourhoods which have been chosen to test


We are just driving through Chicago's South Side now.


Now, this is one of the areas which has experienced the highest


incidence of violent crime, mainly gun and drug related.


To see how all of this different kit works,


I'm on my way to a police station which acts as a command


centre, bringing all of the technologies together.


Heading up the project is Deputy Chief Jonathan Lewen


So this is our Strategic Decision Support Center.


So this is where you bring all of your different


This is the first time that this level of technology


integration has been done, not only here, I think,


So what can we see on the screens we have got around us?


So, all around us are various sensor inputs, cameras, gunshot detection.


The screen behind you is something called Hunch Lab,


which is a geographic prediction tool that brings a lot of data


into a model to predict risk for future violence.


So what you are seeing on these little boxes here are areas


where the model is recommending that we deploy resources


and implement strategies to fight some of the violence


And then it is telling us that we should deploy resources,


visit businesses, do foot patrol, various tactics.


Shot Spotter just very quickly triangulates possible gunshot events


using acoustic sensors that are located throughout the district,


and it shows the officer exactly where, accurate to within 25 yards,


And you can actually play the audio of the gunshot event,


So here's an event with nine rounds fired.


And in this case, you can see the location is actually


the back yard of a house, so that's going to be very accurate.


So this is the decision support system and this


is where everything comes together in one place.


It will soon be available in the hands of officers on smartphones.


So in this case, we are looking at a 911 call of a robbery that just


There are four cameras within a 300 foot radius of that call.


Here is the real-time video from those cameras.


These guys here, these are possible suspects, or...


These are people that might possibly be involved?


How do we know that this is identifying the right people?


We find when we test and measure them, that the model's


recommendations, because we can backdate it, we can look


at a known outcome period and see how it performs.


And we know that it's picking the right people because we know


But some of this technology is proving to be controversial,


It's called the Strategic Subjects List.


and locations, this list is concerned with predicting crimes


Just like Hunch Lab is a place-based risk model, this is a person-based


risk model that is looking at variables such as arrest


activity, so have you been arrested for a gun offence in the past?


So it's using some crime victim data.


Is your trend line in criminal activity increasing or decreasing?


What was your age at the time you were last arrested?


Nothing about race, nothing about gender,


It is using objective measures to determine risk


It's basically telling us that this person is 500 times more likely


than a member of the general population to be involved


in a shooting, either as a victim or an offender.


So in here, we can see his affiliations, his gang affiliations.


We can see also his, is this his arrest record


You can see that he has a weapons arrest.


He was arrested here for aggravated battery.


So here's a first-degree murder charge.


Here's another arrest, this is a narcotics arrest.


So the score estimates how much more likely an individual is to be


the victim or the perpetrator of a violent crime.


The police use this score to inform what they call


This is not designed to be a punitive tool.


This is used to drive what we call a custom notification process,


which is literally a site visit to this subject, to say,


"You've come to our attention for these reasons.


We want to get you out of the cycle of violence.


We can offer you the following social services".


Maybe if they have children at home, it would be childcare services.


"But also, if you don't leave the cycle of violence


and you keep committing crimes, you're going to be subject


to enhanced criminal penalties", because you're a repeat gun


And can you see why, if police officers go and visit


somebody out of the blue, it might seem like they are being


Everybody who has a risk score has committed a crime in the past.


Otherwise they wouldn't even be in the model.


Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, though, disagree.


They aren't happy about the use of some of these technologies.


The police showed us a database of people who have been involved


in violent crime in the past, and an algorithm which suggests


if and when they might again be involved in a violent crime.


Oftentimes in large numbers, along with a number


But what they won't say is what social services are offering.


Is it just them or is it their entire family?


What is the success rate once that occurs?


The fact is, is that most of the people who are charged for...


You know, if you take two people who are arrested


for a simple drug possession, if one is white and one


is African-American, the African-American is far more


likely to be charged, maybe even convicted.


We have seen that there has been, you know, in essence,


a "once convicted, always guilty" sort of theme that


While there might be disagreements about the use of this technology,


everybody I spoke to had similar ideas about an ultimate


solution to tackling violent crime in Chicago.


It's got to be every, everybody that's a stakeholder


in this coming together to solve the problem.


What is really needed across this city is a commitment


I think a lot of it has to do with preventing, with healing,


and creating a space where individuals can civically


Well, that was Marc and this is Marc.


The police said that the list is composed from people that have


committed violent crimes in the entire State of Illinois.


That is the prerequisite for getting on?


They only consider people who have previously committed crimes?


Yeah, if you've already committed a crime, especially a violent


crime, you might end up on the Strategic Subjects List.


Well, interestingly, earlier this week I spoke to DJ Patil.


Now, until recently, he was President Obama's


I asked him about this and this is what he said.


Many, many deep concerns about the presence of these things.


The fundamental one is the transparency of the algorithm.


Very recently in the US, we had a case that was


What was being used was a number of variables that


And specifically, your race, your background,


You know, these datasets of offenders, we also know,


have oftentimes have an increased bias because of the way police


enforcement happens, or is it happening in one


neighbourhood versus another neighbourhood?


Now, do I think there is merit in the use of this data?


The way we saw it, and one of the reasons why we created


the White House Data-Driven Justice Initiative, is that we realised


that, hey, a huge amount of these people have other problems


It was the week in which we learned that Disney has filed a patent


Minecraft said it would allow content creators


And Amazon promised to refund up to $70 million to parents whose


children made in-app purchases without their consent.


It seems some hackers like waking up Texans in the middle of the night.


All 156 tornado warning sirens in Dallas were turned on at once.


Officials haven't yet tracked down the person responsible


for the midnight hoo-ha but say they were activated via radio


An oceangoing robotic snake has popped up in Southampton.


The Eelume has cameras and sensors so it can perform maintenance


Could the boys in blue be about to go green?


Behold, the Ford Police Responder hybrid sedan.


The eco-friendly car features anti-stab plates in the front seat.


But hang on, it's slower than the petrol model


And finally this week, little green people in your living room.


Globacore has released HoloLens, a virtual reality homage


Guide your green-haired friends to safety across your worldly goods.


Just don't expect a refund for either in-app or


And for three days, home to four fundraising friends.


They will traverse 100 kilometres over mountains and frozen lakes


in temperatures as low as -30 Celsius.


Group leader James' daughter suffers from mitochondrial disease,


and this trek is to raise money for a charity that helps


children with the condition and their families.


These guys are all senior tech geeks by day, so to help


them on their quest, we've equipped them with some


Here we have all our technical equipment.


Some people think this is a lunchbox, but it's not.


But which of these extreme weather gubbins will actually do the job


Suited, booted and sufficiently powered up, they head off


One of the most vital gadgets we're using is this satellite


So it's going to send Connor's wife, my wife, John's wife,


Tuka's girlfriend a text message to say everything's OK.


That's going to keep some of our tech kit that we've got


in here from freezing up, particularly a load of battery


We've armed ourselves with a whole load of different battery packs.


This one here is the RAVPower, and it's designed to be worn.


Here we have the ZeroLemon power bank.


It is a little bit heavy but then again, it packs 30,000 milliamps.


I'm going to hide the Nomad Tile trackable battery pack from James,


Wow, maybe I should have hidden it better.


Tuka, I think we made it just in time, my friend.


Very happy to be at this wilderness hut that we just got to.


I'm trying out the heated insoles today.


We've got the GoPro mounted to the skis.


We're headed off in that direction, about 34K, I think, today.


The little GoPro Hero5 Session was left out overnight.


I thought we'd killed it and I went and kind of scraped the ice


off it in the morning, pressed the button, boom,


So it's like, OK, that's seriously cool.


I've been wearing a Finnish smart watch that's been


As well as tracking your location, dropping a breadcrumb of GPS


coordinates as you move, so once you've done something,


I'm just going to save that up on the touchscreen.


The biggest thing I've found was that it gives


you so much encouragement, you know, when you're


wrecked and you're about to die after 12 hours.


The heated soles in the boot are working quite nicely,


So here we have the Blaze Spark infrared lens.


Keen to capture the Northern Lights, Connor's got a smartphone


You download a app called Blaze Spark.


Very simple to load, and once you connect the camera,


the app automatically starts and your phone becomes


OK, because we had to lug quite a lot of stuff across the Arctic,


there's some bits of kit we didn't take with us.


It's got a fan inside it, so as you light the fire,


it blows air through the bottom, causes it to really combust quickly.


It's also got an integrated battery pack.


And it actually converts heat into electricity and keeps


So this thing has got a USB slot and the phone is on charge.


This hand has got a heated glove on it.


It's quite a lot of weight you're carrying and you can only charge


them up from the mains, so if, like us, you're trekking


out in the wilderness for a few days, they are not


The gloves or the socks, I'll take the gloves.


Invent a great glove, because that would, I'd buy


Filling our water bucket for boiling.


We don't want to go and fall in there because


Sadly, Connor didn't manage to capture the Northern Lights


on his night-vision cam but he did take these beautiful


My activity levels, even though I've been trekking


for two days solidly, it only gives me 83 out of 100!


It keeps you on your toes, knowing how much sleep you need.


It tells you how much REM sleep you had, how much light sleep


you had and how much deep sleep you had.


And it records, therefore, on the basis of that


and the day's activities, the previous day's activities


When you know you've got that measurement happening all the time,


it reminds you to look after yourself and


I've been wearing thermic heated insoles now for a couple of days.


The cable coming out the back of the boot gave me horrendous


So I cut the cable off and just turned them into normal insoles.


This is the Snow Lizard, fully waterproof, solar


Even though your phone is very precious and this


one is to me, for sure, you can do that.


And they are diving around in the snow.


We still have 21 kilometres to go on day three.


So far, the crew has been really jolly and talkative.


For some reason, there seems to be a little less talking now


Blistered and bloody-toed, we approach the finishing line.


That was the hardest thing I've ever done.


You don't do this to feel warm and comfortable and cosy, actually.


You get out to do something like this to raise the money


that we have been trying to raise for the Lilly Foundation but also,


And tech can take you so far, but ultimately, it's your brain


and your endurance and so on that can take you all the way.


But I would still like some heated gloves.


Wow, what a great bunch of guys and what a great story, too,


especially considering they filmed that all themselves.


The good news is that so far, they've raised over ?17,000


for the Lilly Foundation and we wish them and James' daughter,


For more information on their story and everything else you've seen


in this week's programme, check out Twitter.


Time to get up to date with how we will see the rest of the day


unfolding across the British Isles. In mixture of sunny spells and


Click is in Chicago where the police are using tech to predict the location and perpetrators of future crimes.

And tough tech gets tested at the Arctic Circle.

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