, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 347–356 | Cite as

What is wrong about Robocops as consultants? A technology-centric critique of predictive policing

  • Martin DegelingEmail author
  • Bettina Berendt
Original Article


Fighting crime has historically been a field that drives technological innovation, and it can serve as an example of different governance styles in societies. Predictive policing is one of the recent innovations that covers technical trends such as machine learning, preventive crime fighting strategies, and actual policing in cities. However, it seems that a combination of exaggerated hopes produced by technology evangelists, media hype, and ignorance of the actual problems of the technology may have (over-)boosted sales of software that supports policing by predicting offenders and crime areas. In this paper we analyse currently used predictive policing software packages with respect to common problems of data mining, and describe challenges that arise in the context of their socio-technical application.


Predictive policing Data mining Privacy Big data 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Software ResearchSchool of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Declarative Languages and Artificial Intelligence GroupDepartment of Computer Science, KU LeuvenHeverleeBelgium

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