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Communications of the ACM


It's Not the Algorithm, It's the Data

It's Not the Algorithm, It's the Data, illustrative photo

Predictive policing systems identify "hotspots" where crime risk is the highest.

Credit: Birgitte Blandhoel

Crime in the U.S. has fallen dramatically over the past three decades, with 2014 statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) noting the number of violent crimes committed per 100,000 people in 2013 (368) was less than half the level seen in 1991 (758).

Nevertheless, the debate continues over how to maintain these lower crime rates while addressing issues of fairness in the way communities are policed, as well as how to effectively and fairly use risk-assessment tools that can be relied upon by sentencing courts or parole boards.


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