chapter  13
14 Pages

‘We do that once per day’

Cyclical futures and institutional ponderousness in predictive policing 1
WithMatthias Leese

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This chapter investigates the temporal modalities of predictive policing. It argues that there is a considerable rift between the technoscientific imaginaries of automation, real-time situational awareness, and maximum responsiveness on the one hand, and the static ways in which police departments practice algorithmic crime analysis on the other. Due to the asynchronicity between crime and police work, the police consider it sufficient to analyse crime data only once per day and work with the resulting risk estimates for up to seven days. Such temporal practices decisively undercut narratives of operational flexibility vis-à-vis a supposedly dynamic threat environment. Static temporal modalities become further aggravated by the inability to mobilize sufficient personnel resources for the implementation of crime prevention measures. Overall, so this chapter claims, the temporalities of predictive policing primarily align with the characteristics of the addressed type of crime and with entrenched operational requirements of police work. Crime prediction must in this sense be understood as an iterative, rhythmic activity that keeps on producing short-term futures.