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LAPD will end controversial program that aimed to predict where crimes would occur

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore announced Tuesday that, in light of financial constraints caused by the coronavirus outbreak, the department would stop using a controversial program that predicts where property crimes could occur throughout the city.

Critics say the predictive-policing program, called Pred-Pol, has led to heavier policing of minority neighborhoods. Moore has said in the past that he disagrees with the view that the program unfairly targets Latino and black neighborhoods.

“That is a hard decision,” Moore said during a Police Commission meeting conducted remotely by Zoom. “It’s a strategy we used, but the cost projections of hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on that right now versus finding that money and directing that money to other more central activities is what I have to do.”

Moore said he believed the underlying principles behind Pred-Pol were valid and that he’d be looking at other systems that crime analysts have to identify where crime is occurring. He said that a handbook on data-informed community policing that activists had been long awaiting was published on the LAPD’s website Monday.

Community activists on the call emphasized how Moore’s decision came after they pressured the department to discontinue the program.

“This is all through the hard work of community folks,” said Hamid Khan of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition. “This is community power that shows we can dismantle it and stop these egregious tactics.”

Pred-Pol software — developed by a UCLA professor in conjunction with the LAPD — was designed to predict in real time where and when crimes were likely to occur over the next 12 hours. In October, the department announced changes to the program seven months after the LAPD inspector general said he couldn’t determine its effectiveness in reducing crime.

The Times reported last year that numerous departments across the country had ended use of the software because they determined it did not help reduce crime and that it provided information already being gathered by officers patrolling the streets.

Times staffer Cindy Chang and former Times staffer Mark Puente contributed to this report.