Hotspots and Blind Spots

A Case of Predictive Policing in Practice
  • Lauren WaardenburgEmail author
  • Anastasia Sergeeva
  • Marleen Huysman
Conference paper
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 543)


This paper reports on an ethnographic study of the use of analytics in police work. We find that the introduction of predictive policing was followed by the emergence of the new occupational role of “intelligence officer”. While intelligence officers were initially intended to merely support police officers by making sense of algorithmic outputs, they became increasingly influential in steering police action based on their judgments. Paradoxically, despite the largely subjective nature of intelligence officers’ recommendations, police officers started to increasingly believe in the superiority and objectivity of algorithmic decision-making. Our work contributes to the literature on occupational change and technology by highlighting how analytics can occasion the emergence of intermediary occupational roles. We argue that amidst critical debates on subjectivity of analytics, more attention should be paid to intermediaries – those who are in-between designers and users – who may exert the most consequential influence on analytics outcomes by further black-boxing the inherent inclusion of human expertise in analytics.


Analytics Algorithms Predictive policing Occupational change Future of work Data-driven work 


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lauren Waardenburg
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anastasia Sergeeva
    • 1
  • Marleen Huysman
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Business and EconomicsVrije Universiteit AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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