Could ‘predictive policing’ work in Memphis?

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Disclosure: I’m one of those people who believes CBS’ 60 Minutes is a national treasure — and the above segment is one reason why.

As heartbroken as we are whenever we hear of another tragic shooting in Memphis, we can all thank God that things aren’t as bad in Memphis as they are in Chicago. But Chicago PD, along with community leaders and social workers, is taking a different approach to stemming the bloodshed.

Briefly: Chicago police assemble a profile of “at risk” Chicagoans — mostly African American men — who are likely to be incarcerated or killed. The profile draws on the person’s neighborhood, known associates, past criminal record, etc. And your first response is “racial profiling!” But it’s what happens next that is potentially game-changing.

Flanked by those social workers, ministers and community leaders, Chicago police officers knock on the door of those at-risk. After showing them the data and analysis and explaining what will happen to them if they commit a gun crime, officers step aside and introduce their partners in reducing crime. And starting by telling the young men that “We love them, we care about them, we need them,” they begin to offer help in getting their lives on track — support with simple things, like getting a license and a job.

It doesn’t work every time, and not every “at risk” person takes the offer. But watch the clip — the whole clip, you’ve got 13 minutes, don’t you? — and tell me you won’t be wondering like I was:

Could this work in Memphis?

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