I don’t know if you have been paying attention or not, but a lot of police organizations across the U.S. have been using what are known as “heat lists” or pre-crime databases for years. What is a “heat list,” you may ask?
Well, “heat lists” are basically databases compiled by algorithms of people that police suspect may commit a crime. Yes, you read that right a person who “may” commit a crime. How these lists are generated and what factors determine an individual “may commit a crime” is unknown. A recent article by Tampa Bay Times highlights how this program in Florida terrorized and monitored residents of Pasco County and how the Pasco County Sheriff Department’s program operates.
According to the Times, the Sheriff’s office generates lists of people it considers likely to break the law, based on arrest histories, unspecified intelligence, and arbitrary decisions by police analysts. Then it sends deputies to find and interrogate anyone whose name appears, often without probable cause, a search warrant, or evidence of a specific crime.