Crowdsourcing police patrol

I have a short, and possibly provocative, essay up at the website of the LA Guardian Angels organization. Shorter version: citizens see more crime than cops do, and citizens with flying mobile cameras (available as toys at your local mall) could see still more. Is there a way to gather and process that information that would keep crime coming down now that we’ve passed “peak cop”?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

4 thoughts on “Crowdsourcing police patrol”

  1. Mark:

    On a unrelated note: Will you post the proposal your class created regarding a feasible marajuana legalization system in California? You alluded to it in a post way back when, but I never saw the explicated follow-up…:(

    Or will this proposal be in your book issued this summer? 🙂


  2. Talk to David Brin, in physics at UCLA. Had the idea in his novel ‘Earth’ 20 years ago.

  3. It seems to me that this kind of thing is (to first or second order at least) way too susceptible to astroturfing and cliques. You’re giving the decision of where to deploy police resources to private parties with their own interests, and some of those interests may involve having fewer police resources devoted to their activities.

    (Yes, there are ways to get around those issues, but if you had the smarts and cognitive resources to do so, you’d probably have the smarts and resources to do the allocation better in the first place.)

    How are the british experiments with crowdsourcing surveillance going? There the watching posts are fixed, but otherwise you have some of the same characteristics.

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