Worcester Approves Plan To Add 'Crime Forecasting' Technology To Policing

WORCESTER, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Worcester officials have approved a plan to add a controversial tool to the city's current crime detection system.

The measure would add crime forecasting technology to the "shot spotter" system, which is used to detect gunshots in the area.

Over a dozen community-based activists groups have spoken out against the plan -- arguing that it will disproportionately hurt communities of color in Worcester by using existing crime data to automatically create targeted patrol locations.

Marie Brouillette of Defund WPD said she is concerned that the data being used already contains racial biases that will lead to unnecessary arrests and over-policing in certain areas.

"Predictive policing as a practice is incredibly dangerous," she said. "There are a lot of risks that come with using that program -- specifically to low income communities, communities of color, demographics that are already disproportionately impacted by police and police presence."

Brouillette said that because communities of color are already represented in the city's arrest data -- the technology's algorithm will inevitably send police officers to those same areas and create a "huge risk" for marginalized communities suffering from over-policing.

In response to the backlash, the department has said that the new technology doesn't use personal arrest information -- and assesses crime risks across the entire city, not just for one area.

WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports.

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Written by Rachel Armany

(Photo: Getty Images)

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