Your Letters: Predictive Policing; Doris Day

Originally published on December 3, 2011 3:31 pm
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Time now for your letters.

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SIMON: We got hundreds of comments on our segment last week on predictive policing, which uses statistics and algorithms to deploy police where crimes are most likely to occur.

Clark Petrie posted this at NPR.org: It made me wonder why they don't just use available recidivism data to nab the perps instead. I guess that's a political thing. They have to wait for a crime to be committed before they can do anything. Protecting the public applies only to the survivors.

We asked former L.A. police chief William Bratton if criminals could use some of the same statistics to plan crimes in neighborhoods with a smaller police presence. And he said in part...

WILLIAM BRATTON: Unpredictability of policing certainly works very much in our favor. And the reality is that most of these gangs (unintelligible) the gangs that tends to commit most of the violence don't have that level of sophistication.

SIMON: But Don Merrill of Salt Lake City wrote: It makes sense that criminals can take the same long view as the police. First, you get the information and study the patterns to avoid creating unusual patterns. Then, you use those patterns to draw police to certain areas with high distractive, low value crimes while they conduct low distraction, high value crime in other areas.

Scott Wallace appeared on our show to talk about his new book, "The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon's Last Uncontacted Tribes." He followed a team in search of an uncontacted tribe called the Arrow People - without coming into actual contact with them.

James Parish of Fenton, Missouri, says: In this time of complete and unrelenting connectedness via social media, smartphones, and the like, it is oddly comforting that people are thriving despite their lacking these modern conveniences. It is wise to realize that sometimes leaving well enough alone is the most powerful contribution to the world we can give.

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SIMON: Finally, many of you wrote to thank us for our chat with Doris Day. Michael Montana in Utica, New York, writes: I'm walking around the house with a smile on my face. I always say I wish that Doris Day would do something to entertain us again and finally after all these years it happened. Thank you for this very happy news.

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