T Nation

Modern Day Minority Report?

Police target dangerous suspects before they can offend
Lucy Bannerman

Criminal profilers are drawing up a list of the 100 most dangerous murderers and rapists of the future even before they commit such crimes, The Times has learnt.

The highly controversial database will be used by police and other agencies to target suspects before they can carry out a serious offence. Pilot projects to identify the highest-risk future offenders have been operating in five London boroughs for the past two months.

The Soham murderer Ian Huntley and the serial rapist Richard Baker have been used as examples of the type of man police will identify.

However, the database will increase concerns at the growth of official surveillance and anxieties that innocent men are being singled out for offences they have no intention of committing.

Experts from the Metropolitan Police?s Homicide Prevention Unit are creating psychological profiles of likely offenders to predict patterns of criminal behaviour. Statements from former partners, information from mental health workers and details of past complaints are being combined to identify the men considered most likely to commit serious violent crimes.

The list will draw comparisons with the Hollywood film Minority Report, in which suspects are locked up before they can commit a predicted crime.

Laura Richards, a senior criminal psychologist with the Homicide Prevention Unit, told The Times: ?My vision is that we know across London who the top 100 people are. We need to know who we are targeting.

?It is trying to pick up Ian Huntley before he goes out and commits that murder. Then we have the opportunity to stop something turning into a lethal event.?

The team is concentrating on reducing the risk of those with a history of domestic violence turning into murderers. About a quarter of murders are related to domestic violence.

?There are some pretty dangerous people out there, so you need these risk models to wheedle them out, separate the wheat from the chaff,? she said. ?If you add up all the information, it tells us which people are risky.?

Ms Richards said that once an individual had been identified, police would decide whether to make moves towards an arrest, or to alert the relevant social services who could steer those targeted into ?management programmes.?

The project will be closely watched by the Home Office. However, civil liberties groups and human rights lawyers will be concerned at the plans to intervene in the lives of men before they actually commit a crime.

Details of the database emerged after Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, said that Britain had ?sleepwalked? into a surveillance society.

Simon Davies, director of Privacy International, said yesterday: ?It is quite right that the police should keep intelligence on suspected criminals, but it is obscene to suggest there should be a ?crime idol? list of those who might commit an offence.

?The police are systematically moving the boundaries as to where they can exercise their powers. The Minority Report syndrome is pushing the boundary of criminal intervention further into the general community.?

There was also concern that the database would be ineffective if the authorities continued to fail to act on the information already available to them. Ray Wyre, a sexual crimes consultant, was supportive of the database but said that it would only work if police acted on the information.

?Of course you have to know your enemy, but it is what you do with the data that matters,? he said.

[quote]PGA wrote:
Police target dangerous suspects before they can offend
Lucy Bannerman

Criminal profilers are drawing up a list of the 100 most dangerous murderers and rapists of the future even before they commit such crimes, The Times has learnt.

The highly controversial database will be used by police and other agencies to target suspects before they can carry out a serious offence. Pilot projects to identify the highest-risk future offenders have been operating in five London boroughs for the past two months.

The Soham murderer Ian Huntley and the serial rapist Richard Baker have been used as examples of the type of man police will identify.

However, the database will increase concerns at the growth of official surveillance and anxieties that innocent men are being singled out for offences they have no intention of committing.

Experts from the Metropolitan Police?s Homicide Prevention Unit are creating psychological profiles of likely offenders to predict patterns of criminal behaviour. Statements from former partners, information from mental health workers and details of past complaints are being combined to identify the men considered most likely to commit serious violent crimes.

The list will draw comparisons with the Hollywood film Minority Report, in which suspects are locked up before they can commit a predicted crime.

Laura Richards, a senior criminal psychologist with the Homicide Prevention Unit, told The Times: ?My vision is that we know across London who the top 100 people are. We need to know who we are targeting.

?It is trying to pick up Ian Huntley before he goes out and commits that murder. Then we have the opportunity to stop something turning into a lethal event.?

The team is concentrating on reducing the risk of those with a history of domestic violence turning into murderers. About a quarter of murders are related to domestic violence.

?There are some pretty dangerous people out there, so you need these risk models to wheedle them out, separate the wheat from the chaff,? she said. ?If you add up all the information, it tells us which people are risky.?

Ms Richards said that once an individual had been identified, police would decide whether to make moves towards an arrest, or to alert the relevant social services who could steer those targeted into ?management programmes.?

The project will be closely watched by the Home Office. However, civil liberties groups and human rights lawyers will be concerned at the plans to intervene in the lives of men before they actually commit a crime.

Details of the database emerged after Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, said that Britain had ?sleepwalked? into a surveillance society.

Simon Davies, director of Privacy International, said yesterday: ?It is quite right that the police should keep intelligence on suspected criminals, but it is obscene to suggest there should be a ?crime idol? list of those who might commit an offence.

?The police are systematically moving the boundaries as to where they can exercise their powers. The Minority Report syndrome is pushing the boundary of criminal intervention further into the general community.?

There was also concern that the database would be ineffective if the authorities continued to fail to act on the information already available to them. Ray Wyre, a sexual crimes consultant, was supportive of the database but said that it would only work if police acted on the information.

?Of course you have to know your enemy, but it is what you do with the data that matters,? he said.

Didn’t Tom Cruise star in this movie?

[quote]MaloVerde wrote:

Didn’t Tom Cruise star in this movie?

[/quote]

YOU GOT IT!

[quote]Digital Chainsaw wrote:
MaloVerde wrote:

Didn’t Tom Cruise star in this movie?

YOU GOT IT![/quote]

Dear God, I didn’t realize that was Tom Cruise in your avatar until just now.

Dammit DC, I’ll never look at you or your posts the same again, what the hell…

One of the easiest ways to predict future rapists and killers is to track individuals who have been convicted of cruelty to animals. It seems to be a gateway to those other crimes.

Obviously the system has potential for abuse, but I would say all in all that it’s a good thing. I think as long as they stick with the very top likely offenders and don’t try to second guess everyone who happens to walk past a schoolyard at lunchtime it would be a useful system.

[quote]t-ha wrote:
Obviously the system has potential for abuse, but I would say all in all that it’s a good thing. I think as long as they stick with the very top likely offenders and don’t try to second guess everyone who happens to walk past a schoolyard at lunchtime it would be a useful system.[/quote]

Who watches the Watchers?

What happens when the list becomes the top 1000 instead of the top 100? The top 100 per state, or per city? Pretty soon, you’ll have a database of million of individuals who can get arrested for their “potential” for committing a crime.

The problem with this type of thinking is that, for any individual, if you scrutinize their life close enough for long enough, you’ll eventually find something that’s objectionable.

“If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.”
[center]- Cardinal Richelieu[/center]
“Preventing crimes to protect the victims (especially children, of course)” is just a convenient, public-friendly way of slowly putting in place a system where the authorities will be watching everyone all the time.

The first systems will, of course, target only criminals, terrorists, sexual offenders and other unsavory individuals. Once in place, though, it’s very easy to slowly “widen” the scope of those systems.

Anyone working with children could be a sex offender.

Anyone working with computers could be a hacker.

Anyone driving a truck could transport explosives or contraband of some sort.

Anyone working in a hospital could steal and resell powerful drugs.

Anyone who owns a firearm could use it to commit murder.

And on, and on.

Anonymity is already nearly impossible to achieve; simple privacy is slowly being eroded too.

How free is a free society without possible privacy or anonymity?

[quote]pookie wrote:
t-ha wrote:
Obviously the system has potential for abuse, but I would say all in all that it’s a good thing. I think as long as they stick with the very top likely offenders and don’t try to second guess everyone who happens to walk past a schoolyard at lunchtime it would be a useful system.

Who watches the Watchers?

What happens when the list becomes the top 1000 instead of the top 100? The top 100 per state, or per city? Pretty soon, you’ll have a database of million of individuals who can get arrested for their “potential” for committing a crime.

The problem with this type of thinking is that, for any individual, if you scrutinize their life close enough for long enough, you’ll eventually find something that’s objectionable.

“If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.”
[center]- Cardinal Richelieu[/center]
“Preventing crimes to protect the victims (especially children, of course)” is just a convenient, public-friendly way of slowly putting in place a system where the authorities will be watching everyone all the time.

The first systems will, of course, target only criminals, terrorists, sexual offenders and other unsavory individuals. Once in place, though, it’s very easy to slowly “widen” the scope of those systems.

Anyone working with children could be a sex offender.

Anyone working with computers could be a hacker.

Anyone driving a truck could transport explosives or contraband of some sort.

Anyone working in a hospital could steal and resell powerful drugs.

Anyone who owns a firearm could use it to commit murder.

And on, and on.

Anonymity is already nearly impossible to achieve; simple privacy is slowly being eroded too.

How free is a free society without possible privacy or anonymity?

[/quote]

What this man said is true.

Be very afraid when you hear the mantra “If you are doing nothing illegal, you have nothing to worry about” or some such variant when it comes to civil liberties/privacy.

[quote]deanosumo wrote:
One of the easiest ways to predict future rapists and killers is to track individuals who have been convicted of cruelty to animals. It seems to be a gateway to those other crimes.[/quote]

This is a statistically mutated urban legend. A large proportion of rapists/murders did/do abuse animals. The inverse correlation doesn’t even begin to hold water.

[quote]pookie wrote:
Who watches the Watchers?
[/quote]
A politically independant monitoring comission or some such thing.

[quote]pookie wrote:
t-ha wrote:
Obviously the system has potential for abuse, but I would say all in all that it’s a good thing. I think as long as they stick with the very top likely offenders and don’t try to second guess everyone who happens to walk past a schoolyard at lunchtime it would be a useful system.

Who watches the Watchers?

What happens when the list becomes the top 1000 instead of the top 100? The top 100 per state, or per city? Pretty soon, you’ll have a database of million of individuals who can get arrested for their “potential” for committing a crime.

The problem with this type of thinking is that, for any individual, if you scrutinize their life close enough for long enough, you’ll eventually find something that’s objectionable.

“If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.”
[center]- Cardinal Richelieu[/center]
“Preventing crimes to protect the victims (especially children, of course)” is just a convenient, public-friendly way of slowly putting in place a system where the authorities will be watching everyone all the time.

The first systems will, of course, target only criminals, terrorists, sexual offenders and other unsavory individuals. Once in place, though, it’s very easy to slowly “widen” the scope of those systems.

Anyone working with children could be a sex offender.

Anyone working with computers could be a hacker.

Anyone driving a truck could transport explosives or contraband of some sort.

Anyone working in a hospital could steal and resell powerful drugs.

Anyone who owns a firearm could use it to commit murder.

And on, and on.

Anonymity is already nearly impossible to achieve; simple privacy is slowly being eroded too.

How free is a free society without possible privacy or anonymity?

[/quote]

I’ve argued this a number of times with a few people when it comes to, say, the scarlet lettering of child molesters/sex offenders. If they are still deemed a threat to society, why the hell let them out?

Virtually nobody seems to have a problem with registering them, though, even though it never seems to deter those bent on committing the crime again.

When I explain the domino effect as pookie described, i.e.; start with undesirable members of society and work your way up, I hear stuff like, “aw, I can’t see it coming to that”. And I reply, “yeah, therein lies the problem: You don’t even see it coming”.

[quote]lucasa wrote:
deanosumo wrote:
One of the easiest ways to predict future rapists and killers is to track individuals who have been convicted of cruelty to animals. It seems to be a gateway to those other crimes.

This is a statistically mutated urban legend. A large proportion of rapists/murders did/do abuse animals. The inverse correlation doesn’t even begin to hold water.[/quote]

That is correct. The FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit identified a pattern of three behaviors in many serial killers/rapists…animal cruelty, bed-wetting and fire starting.

Now how many kids played with fire or wet the bed? Hundreds of thousands? Animal cruelty is a little more serious,
but if you get the right people making these list, hunters are going to be on it.

If this silliness is true, Britain really is headed downhill fast.

[quote]t-ha wrote:
pookie wrote:
Who watches the Watchers?

A politically independant monitoring comission or some such thing.[/quote]

Right…because that whole “democracy thing” where the power belongs with the people is such an outdated idea. I doubt we will have much privacy at all in the future and our every move will be tracked. It can only turn out that way because far too many aren’t upset at all whenever precursors to such moves pop up.

Anyone with the ability to think ahead by any amount of time should have a problem with this. However, I imagine with a few more generations, mistrust of the system will be bred out of the general population as long as enough people keep quoting, “if you do nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about”.

[quote]Digital Chainsaw wrote:
pookie wrote:
t-ha wrote:
Obviously the system has potential for abuse, but I would say all in all that it’s a good thing. I think as long as they stick with the very top likely offenders and don’t try to second guess everyone who happens to walk past a schoolyard at lunchtime it would be a useful system.

Who watches the Watchers?

What happens when the list becomes the top 1000 instead of the top 100? The top 100 per state, or per city? Pretty soon, you’ll have a database of million of individuals who can get arrested for their “potential” for committing a crime.

The problem with this type of thinking is that, for any individual, if you scrutinize their life close enough for long enough, you’ll eventually find something that’s objectionable.

“If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.”
[center]- Cardinal Richelieu[/center]
“Preventing crimes to protect the victims (especially children, of course)” is just a convenient, public-friendly way of slowly putting in place a system where the authorities will be watching everyone all the time.

The first systems will, of course, target only criminals, terrorists, sexual offenders and other unsavory individuals. Once in place, though, it’s very easy to slowly “widen” the scope of those systems.

Anyone working with children could be a sex offender.

Anyone working with computers could be a hacker.

Anyone driving a truck could transport explosives or contraband of some sort.

Anyone working in a hospital could steal and resell powerful drugs.

Anyone who owns a firearm could use it to commit murder.

And on, and on.

Anonymity is already nearly impossible to achieve; simple privacy is slowly being eroded too.

How free is a free society without possible privacy or anonymity?

I’ve argued this a number of times with a few people when it comes to, say, the scarlet lettering of child molesters/sex offenders. If they are still deemed a threat to society, why the hell let them out?

Virtually nobody seems to have a problem with registering them, though, even though it never seems to deter those bent on committing the crime again.

When I explain the domino effect as pookie described, i.e.; start with undesirable members of society and work your way up, I hear stuff like, “aw, I can’t see it coming to that”. And I reply, “yeah, therein lies the problem: You don’t even see it coming”.[/quote]

I agree with your first point.

There should be more emphasis on rehabilitaion, education, job training, for criminals…

…except if you touch a kid.

Then you get locked up for the rest of your life and buried at Potter’s Field in a mass grave.

[quote]harris447 wrote:
Digital Chainsaw wrote:
pookie wrote:
t-ha wrote:
Obviously the system has potential for abuse, but I would say all in all that it’s a good thing. I think as long as they stick with the very top likely offenders and don’t try to second guess everyone who happens to walk past a schoolyard at lunchtime it would be a useful system.

Who watches the Watchers?

What happens when the list becomes the top 1000 instead of the top 100? The top 100 per state, or per city? Pretty soon, you’ll have a database of million of individuals who can get arrested for their “potential” for committing a crime.

The problem with this type of thinking is that, for any individual, if you scrutinize their life close enough for long enough, you’ll eventually find something that’s objectionable.

“If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.”
[center]- Cardinal Richelieu[/center]
“Preventing crimes to protect the victims (especially children, of course)” is just a convenient, public-friendly way of slowly putting in place a system where the authorities will be watching everyone all the time.

The first systems will, of course, target only criminals, terrorists, sexual offenders and other unsavory individuals. Once in place, though, it’s very easy to slowly “widen” the scope of those systems.

Anyone working with children could be a sex offender.

Anyone working with computers could be a hacker.

Anyone driving a truck could transport explosives or contraband of some sort.

Anyone working in a hospital could steal and resell powerful drugs.

Anyone who owns a firearm could use it to commit murder.

And on, and on.

Anonymity is already nearly impossible to achieve; simple privacy is slowly being eroded too.

How free is a free society without possible privacy or anonymity?

I’ve argued this a number of times with a few people when it comes to, say, the scarlet lettering of child molesters/sex offenders. If they are still deemed a threat to society, why the hell let them out?

Virtually nobody seems to have a problem with registering them, though, even though it never seems to deter those bent on committing the crime again.

When I explain the domino effect as pookie described, i.e.; start with undesirable members of society and work your way up, I hear stuff like, “aw, I can’t see it coming to that”. And I reply, “yeah, therein lies the problem: You don’t even see it coming”.

I agree with your first point.

There should be more emphasis on rehabilitaion, education, job training, for criminals…

…except if you touch a kid.

Then you get locked up for the rest of your life and buried at Potter’s Field in a mass grave.

[/quote]

Sounds good to me, since we can’t use them for cheap labor.

It’s these half-assed attempts at making the public feel safe (registering sexual predators, etc.) while releasing these sick, twisted fucks back into society that I find suspect as being part of a bigger agenda.