Chicago Police ‘Custom Notifications': Is It Profiling?

Thomas Frisbie, Chicago Sun-Times, February 26, 2014

Under their “custom notifications” program, Chicago police try to forestall shootings by visiting and talking to people identified as likely to be involved in violence before anything happens.

The idea is to try to prevent crime instead of chasing it after it happens. But it raises the question in some quarters: Isn’t this racial profiling? Don’t the people on the receiving end of police visits have a legitimate beef about being harassed when they haven’t necessarily done anything?

When authorities profile a person, it means singling out a person who isn’t doing anything wrong but is a member of larger class that is perceived as likely to commit crimes.

But the Chicago program targets people whose backgrounds include criminal transgressions and is designed in part to make sure they know the legal risks of continuing such behavior. The program, which is strongly supported by Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, also is designed to link them up to support services to keep them out of trouble.

So far, custom notifications have been done in six police districts that together are home to hundreds of thousands of people, yet the police have made only 50 contacts. Chicago authorities would argue that if that’s profiling, it certainly isn’t indiscriminate profiling.

{snip}

People who get the custom notifications don’t always understand their legal positions. For past offenses, they may have been given probation or some other form of a second chance. They don’t necessarily understand the way the law works, which is that when they get to a certain point, they are facing stiff penalties.

For example, federal law says that if you have certain felonies in your criminal history and you get caught with a gun you can be prosecuted as a career armed criminal and you face a minimum of 15 years in prison. Knowing that ahead of time might be a deterrent, but many people in that position probably don’t know that.

{snip}

Critics, though, say the program needs more transparency. Without knowing the facts that are input and the process of the predictive analytics that produce a list of people to be contacted, it’s not possible to know whether the program is fair, they say.

“Let us assume it has a disparate racial impact–then the burden is on government to justify that impact and to explain that they need to do that in the manner that they do it in order to justify a legitimate outcome,” one observer said.

{snip}

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  • Puggg

    Whether or not it’s “profiling” isn’t important here.

    What’s important is that it’s a dumb program, one that I have heard describes as “hug-a-thug.” Part of hug-a-thug is that the hugged thugs are pointed to job training, so they can be trained for jobs they’ll never get.

    • Irishgirl

      I’d prefer hug-a-pug.

      • dd121

        Silly girl, Pugs are exactly like every other dog. To think otherwise is not only heresy and blasphemy but may get you denounced before the inquisition. Well, the terminology has changed a bit in the 21st century but the idea is the same.

        • Conrad

          She must be a “Breedist.” Ha ha.

      • LACountyRedneck

        Or plug-a-thug.

        • Puggg

          Better than than plug-a-pug.

          • jane johnson

            Love the attitude in this…

          • Puggg

            It’s not about the size of the dog in the fight, (you know the rest).

            I could swear that one of my current three brood of the master race of canines has tried to challenge my household (pack) leadership.

          • jambi19

            Pug-Life.

    • thomas edward

      Actually, this makes me feel good. I thought that we here in the peoples republic of new jersey had the idiocy market cornered. But I do see, we have some stiff competition in front of us for the next gold medal in the idiocy competition..

  • dd121

    Of course not, according to liberal orthodoxy, everybody is exactly the same, we have exactly the same chance of identical outcomes. Therefore, any sorting based on someone’s perceived notions of differences is invalid.

    • Oil Can Harry

      Chicongo police ask blacks not to kill each other? “Dass racial profiling! Dey juss assume we be violent!”

      Chicongo cops abandon the program? “Dass rayciss! Dey don’ care if we lives or die.”

      • dd121

        Orwell didn’t come close. I don’t think he foresaw how limited his imagination was.

        • Jesse James

          No Orwell was writing at a time when England was still almost completely white, he failed to imagine that anybody would be so stupid or evil that that they would allow massive non-white immigration into white countries.

          • Einsatzgrenadier

            Orwell foresaw the transformation of the western democracies into nightmarish totalitarian dictatorships that use media brainwashing to regulate public opinion. He wasn’t aware that this would be accomplished by means of massive non-white immigration, multiculturalism and neoliberal globalization. Otherwise, his 1984 is a very accurate prediction of the future, one that is unfolding right before our eyes.

          • jambi19

            The importing of third world voters makes 1984 that much more likely.

        • Rhialto

          As the West degenerates, Orwell’s Dystopia is becoming somewhat Utopian. There was Big Brother, but people who accepted the State orthodoxy were safe and well fed. Their neighbors were people who looked, spoke and acted like they did. They did not have to compete with immigrants for jobs or living space.

          If I had to choose between living in Orwell’s UK and Cameron’s UK, my response would be “Hail to Big Brother, FU Cameron.”

  • Spartacus

    So now they’re going home to darkies and begging them “PLEASE STOP KILLING EACH OTHER !!! ” ? Pathetic.

    • sbuffalonative

      Unbelievable, isn’t it?

    • Conrad

      For those old enough to remember laugh-In, “Verrry interesting, but shtupid!”

  • sbuffalonative

    Under their “custom notifications” program, Chicago police try to
    forestall shootings by visiting and talking to people identified as
    likely to be involved in violence before anything happens.

    It’s so obvious they have plans on how to deal with it.

  • Bunky

    Disparate racial impact…. see, it solves everything.

  • me

    Oh, heck! Just put every Bantu child on probation as soon as they’re born and be done with it.

    • Einsatzgrenadier

      Why wait until the little savages are born? We should fight crime by encouraging more Bantu females to practice birth control and have abortions.

    • LACountyRedneck

      If that was a pic of a White toddler aiming at a black one, the media would be all over it, blaming the NRA, gun owners, Republicans, Conservatives, and racist Whites.

    • Katherine McChesney

      I say reserve a cell for each one of them when they are born.

  • Conrad

    “But the Chicago program targets people whose backgrounds include criminal transgressions and is designed in part to make sure they know the legal risks of continuing such behavior.”
    Obviously, they will not get this at home by any other means. Nor will anyone at home tell them, “don’t be a criminal in the first place.

    • Alexandra1973

      Who are they kidding? Do jail time, that’s street cred!

      • Katherine McChesney

        They even win elections with it.

  • MBlanc46

    Counseling potential criminals? What a waste of police resources. They ought to concentrate on catching the actual criminals.

  • http://www.amren.com/ Michael Christopher Scott

    In my case, I suspect being caught with a firearm would be a mandatory 20 years and not 10 or 15. I would have to serve 17 years of the 20. No parole in the feds.

  • DailyKenn

    • If they warn them, it’s called profiling.
    • If they don’t warn them, it’s called social insensitivity.

  • jackryanvb

    I like it and such similar programs targeting Black crime, Black anti social behavior but packaged in ways to “help” vulnerable people.

    Planned Parenthod does the same thing, very effective, “helping” disadvantaged women of color to access women’s reproduction health assistance, so these women can improve their lives.

    If any urban area is 70% non White, lower class, we’re no longer pro life conservatives.

  • http://www.amren.com/ Michael Christopher Scott

    This policy probably gives the police a better handle on exactly who the genuine troublemakers in a given area are, so they know who to look for when something does happen.

  • WR_the_realist

    “Let us assume it has a disparate racial impact–then the burden is on
    government to justify that impact and to explain that they need to do
    that in the manner that they do it in order to justify a legitimate
    outcome,” one observer said.

    Every sensible social policy ever devised has disparate impact. The elevation of “disparate impact” to the ultimate sin is why for the past 40 years we’ve had no sensible social policies.

    • http://www.presstitutes.org/ Mike Conrad

      Even the stupid policies (which, of course, outnumber the sensible ones) have disparate impacts. Everything has disparate impacts. We only pay attention when it happens to dovetail with our social agendas, don’t you know.

  • John R

    This is designed to show the nig…uhhh, I mean, the persons likely to commit crime, the consequences? Isn’t that what they used to have public hangings for?

  • Rusty Shackelford

    Most crimes are done by repeat offenders. Other than the occassional lapse in judgment, most law abiding folks tend to remain law abiding, while criminals tend to remain criminals. I guess one of the pitfalls of living in a so called free society is that we have to wait for one of the career criminals to do something again before locking them up, even though we all know exactly what’s going to happen. The whole thing is a joke. The cops know who the bad actors are in their patrols. When something happens, they probably know who did it or have a pretty good hunch. This demographic doesn’t care about going to jail, heck it’s a notch on their belt. They only understand force and violence, but we don’t have the stomach for that anymore.