University professors have teamed up with the Chicago police department to develop a new technology which will allegedly predict violent criminal behavior. Using a computerized algorithm, Chicago has now generated a “Heat List” which indexes approximately 400 individuals they see as likely to commit violent crimes in the future. And some of the people on the list are not criminals at all.
So much for the tenet of “Innocent until Proven Guilty” or even the oft repeated police-apologist sentiment, “If you don’t do anything wrong, have nothing to worry about.”
For 22-year old Robert McDaniel, there certainly was something to worry about, when a police commander showed up at his house simply to issue a threat that he was being watched by police. McDaniel’s grew up in a gritty neighborhood, but was guilty of no crime, and had no recent interactions with police of any kind. Yet there with this official authority standing there on his porch, issuing a stern warning that since he was being watched, there would be severe consequences if he committed a crime.
Stalking, verbal threats, is this what our modern police forces have been reduced to? Forget about the very tenets of due process for a moment, and consider that the actions of the police themselves border on criminality, in this instance, and all too often actually cross the line in countless others.
You certainly don’t want the police showing up at your door for no reason or otherwise to specifically threaten you, especially when you consider cases like this one, where a woman called police for help after she was assaulted and wound up suffering this terrible ordeal.
What good could possibly come from a police officer initiating a deliberately threatening confrontation with a citizen in their own home who as committed no crime?
“If you end up on that list, there’s a reason you’re there.” -program commander in the Chicago Police Department
Perhaps, but that reason has nothing to do with being guilty of a crime. Where does this slippery slope end? DNA blood-draw checkpoints on every roadway? Cameras in your bedroom to ensure you aren’t having deviant sex? Sound far-fetched? If you had told me, in the year 2000, the the government would be strip-searching children at airports I would have said you were nuts.
Read more at: The Verge
Custom Notifications in Chicago – Pilot Program
This directive announces the Chicago Police Department’s pilot program for custom notification under the Violence Reduction Initiative in partnership with John Jay College of Criminal Justice Community Team, which will serve as outreach partners within the social service and community partners assembly.
The pilot program is effective 07 July 2013 and will continue until further notice in the 015 District.
III. General Information
A. While the Violence Reduction Strategy (VRS) is predicated upon group accountability, individuals within certain groups are identified as having the increased likelihood of victimization or engagement in criminal activity. The custom notification will identify those at-risk individuals and reach out to advise them of the risks and consequences of their actions should they engage in criminal conduct. The goal is to ensure the individual is not only informed of the law enforcement consequences for deciding to engage or continue in gun violence, but also of the devastating impact of gun violence within their community. Opportunities for seeking assistance will also be provided during the custom notification. However, it is ultimately the decision of the individual to choose not to engage in criminal activity.
B. For the identified individuals, custom notifications serve as notice that law enforcement action will not be random, but rather targeted and specific to the individual, and the failure to follow the clear and consistent message to cease participating in gun violence will have specific and cognizable penalties, as contained within the custom notification.
A. “Custom Notification” is a process that identifies potential criminal actors and victims associated with the continuum of violence. Once identified, the individual is notified of the consequences that will result should violent activity continue. The Custom Notification is predicated upon national research that concluded certain actions and associations within an individual’s environment are a precursor to certain outcomes should the individual decide to or continue to engage in criminal behavior. The Custom Notification will include a description of both federal and state sentencing options where applicable, as well as identification of the potential for seized assets and other consequences as appropriate.
1. Initial custom notifications may be predicated upon the Heat List generated by the Crime Prevention and Information Center (CPIC).
2. Ongoing custom notifications may be linked to public violence incidents (hot spots) or associated with call-ins as necessary and as approved by the district commander.
B. The “Heat List” is a rank-order list of potential victims and subjects with the greatest propensity for violence. The list is generated based on empirical data compared with known associates of the identified person.
C. “Influentials” are those individual seen as having importance or the ability to influence an individual’s actions. These can be both positive and negative influences.
D. The Custom Notification Letter will be used to inform individuals of the arrest, prosecution, and sentencing consequences they may face if they choose to or continue to engage in public violence. The letter will be specific to the identified individual and incorporate those factors known about the individual inclusive of prior arrests, impact of known associates, and potential sentencing outcomes for future criminal acts.
1. The Bureau of Organizational Development will work with the Office of Legal Affairs to develop a letter template for the Custom Notification.
2. The Office of Legal Affairs will provide review and approval of the Custom Notification Letter prior to distribution. The purpose is to confirm the range of outcomes identified as it applies to potential prosecution and sentencing outcomes.
3. The letters will be signed by the district commanders.
A. District intelligence officers will:
1. continually review and update information relative to individuals linked to gun violence. These reviews will include, but are not limited to:
a. review of the Heat List for the district including the identification of those individuals who live within district.
b. CPIC information relative to criminal activity and conflicts within the district.
c. the District Gang Audit and other database information.
d. intelligence information relayed from district officers, area-assigned officers, and officers assigned to the Bureau of Organized Crime and Bureau of Detectives.
e. review of those individuals who have attended previous call-ins within the district.
2. identify those individuals eligible for custom notifications. Factors for eligibility include, but are not limited to:
a. placement on the Heat List;
b. victim of a shooting incident, where prosecution has been declined for lack of cooperation;
c. identification as a repeat offender for public violence crimes; and
d. other factors as developed and linked to public violence within the district.
3. when an individual is identified and:
a. residency is established, inform the district commander who will ensure the Custom Notification procedure is initiated.
b. residency cannot be verified, forward such information to CPIC and record the information in the district Heat List database pending subsequent confirmation of a new address. Residency will be verified and notification will occur at a future date.
B. The Custom Notification will be conducted under the direction of the district commander.
1. Those present for notifications may vary, based upon identified criminal factors, identified influentials, and other factors as identified in the review process.
2. A CPD officer will always be present for a custom notification.
C. The Custom Notification Team will:
1. generally conduct the notification at the identified individual’s residence;
2. explain the Custom Notification program and the contents of the Custom Notification Letter;
3. deliver the letter to the identified individual.
When an identified individual is not present at the time of the custom notification, or refuses to participate, the Custom Notification Team may deliver the letter and explain the program to a family member or leave the letter at the residence.
D. When a recipient of the custom notification engages in criminal activity for which he or she is arrested, then the district commander will ensure:
1. notification to and coordination with the appropriate Bureau of Detectives Area to ensure appropriate charging occurs. The highest possible charges will be pursued for any individual in the VRS Custom Notification Program.
2. Court advocacy volunteers are notified of the date, time, and place of the bond hearing or other court hearings and encourage attendance at the hearing to demonstrate the community’s support in decreasing the violence.
3. coordination with the Cook County State’s Attorney Community Prosecutions Unit as appropriate.
E. A copy of the custom notification will be forward to the CPIC and maintained within the district.
Garry F. McCarthy
Superintendent of Police