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Are you a victim of predictive policing or profiling?

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

A city like Atlanta is home to people from many different countries, backgrounds and walks of life. There are pockets of crime in certain neighborhoods and virtually none in others.

It shouldn’t surprise you that the many different law enforcement agencies here in Atlanta keep a close eye on the crime data. They know when, where and how crime happens in the city, and they use it to identify places to step up their patrols.

The concept described above is referred to as predictive profiling or policing. Did this approach play a role in your arrest?

Predictive profiling can focus on broad or granular details

While law enforcement agencies often target certain areas when they note an uptick in criminal activity, that’s not the only way they employ predictive policing. Investigators may use the profiling aspect of this approach to hone in on potential suspects. They may focus on a person’s gender, race, ethnicity, behaviors, age and dress to help determine whether they may have committed a crime.

Why should the concept of predictive profiling matter to you?

Most individuals who have an interaction with police do so during a traffic stop. They’re supposed to have a valid reason for pulling you over, such as a vehicle being reported stolen, an expired license plate or a moving violation. Their profiling may lead to them pulling you over for an alternate reason, though.

A traffic stop gives police officers the right to ask you for your identification and to notice anything in plain view in your vehicle. While such a stop doesn’t give them a right to conduct a search without probable cause or your consent, a mere stop for a traffic infraction can end up with a search and you facing some pretty serious charges such as those for drugs or weapons.

Atlanta law enforcement agencies are familiar with predictive profiling and regularly use it to help keep our city safe. However, there are situations in which police act outside the scope of their responsibilities and violate individuals’ rights. It might impact the outcome in your case if they did this during your interaction with them.