Software Can Predict Who Might Kill

Adam's Apple

Senior Member
Apr 25, 2004
The technology miracles just keep coming. Wouldn't be surprised to learn next that someone's developing software that can read people's minds.

Philadelphia Getting Software to Predict Who Might kill
By Michael Matza, Philadelphia Inquirer
November 27, 2006

University of Pennsylvania criminologist Richard Berk, a trained statistician, never met a data set he didn't like.

Using fresh data from the Philadelphia probation department, Berk and three colleagues have built an innovative model for predicting which troublemakers already in the system are most likely to kill or attempt a killing.

With the homicide rate in Philadelphia outpacing last year's by at least 7 percent, a computer model for "forecasting murder" is in the works, Berk said, to be delivered to the probation department in the new year, with clinical trials of the new tool to begin in the spring.

Initial research suggests the software-based system can make it 40 times more likely for caseworkers to accurately predict future lethality than they can using current practices.

"This will help stratify our caseload and target our resources to the most dangerous people," probation department director of research Ellen Kurtz said. "I don't care as much about [targeting] the shoplifter. I care a lot about the murderer, obviously."

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Does it look like this?


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