Inside the CPD’s ‘strategic subject list:’ How data is helping to fight violent crime

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CHICAGO  -- Chicago is grappling with an epidemic of violence.

The police are fighting back with data.  It's an innovative crime fighting strategy known as the "Strategic Subject List."

CPD data analysts use a complicated algorithm to predict those most likely to be involved in violent crime.

"If you continue your criminal activity and continue to be involved in crime, it’s obvious that it’s going to increase the likelihood that you, yourself either might be an offender or victim in a future violent crime" said CPD Deputy Chief for technology Jonathan Lewin.

But critics contend that the list could pose legal issues because the factors used in the algorithm are secret and only police have access to the information.

"We have real concerns about how the list is compiled," said Colleen Connell, the executive director of the ACLU of Illinois.  "The Chicago Police department has steadfastly refused to provide us with the algorithm that shows how people can get on the list and whether anybody can get off the list."