Can An Algorithm Prevent Violence In Chicago?

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A man on his bike looks at a crime scene where a man was fatally shot on Aug. 31, 2016 in Chicago. (Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

Last weekend was a tragic one in Chicago. It was also typical. Four people were killed by gunfire, another 15 were wounded.

Halloween weekend was similar: six dead, 15 wounded. October was Chicago’s second-most violent month this year.

Those terrible statistics come despite an innovative program by the Chicago Police Department, which uses an algorithm to predict not only who is likely to commit a violent crime, but also who is at greatest risk of dying in one.

Frank Main has covered crime for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1999. He joins Here & Now‘s Robin Young in the first part of a two-part conversation about the algorithm’s successes and failures.


Frank Main, crime reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times. He tweets @FrankMainNews.

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