A Brookings study of the numbers of “disconnected youth,” shows Chicago leads the nation.
The study uses an algorithm to define disconnection.
Specifically, the analysis examines the employment and unemployment rates of teens, young adults, and prime-age workers, using microdata data from the American Community Survey for the years 2008–2014. The analysis also examines a key subpopulation among teens and young adult population: “disconnected youth” who are neither working nor in school. These young people are missing key educational and employment experiences and are at increased risk for a host of negative outcomes: long spells of unemployment, poverty, criminal behavior, substance abuse, and incarceration. Data on disconnected youth also comes from American Community Survey microdata, but to compensate for small sample sizes, the analysis uses a three-year estimate encompassing the years 2012–2014.
Part of the data looks like this:
Chicago’s employment rate among African American 20-24 years olds is 47%, the worst of any big city in the nation.
The data is one thing. The solution is another.
The Chicago Police Department also has looked at the data and has also developed what it calls an algorithm said to predict potential, not actual, criminals.
And arrest them.
In a broad drug and gang raid carried out last week amid a disturbing uptick this year in shootings and murders, the Police Department said 117 of the 140 people arrested were on the list.
And in one recent report on homicides and shootings over a two-day stretch, nearly everyone involved was on the list.
“We are targeting the correct individuals,” Mr. Johnson said. “We just need our judicial partners and our state legislators to hold these people accountable.”
Many government agencies and private entities are using data to try to predict outcomes, and local law enforcement organizations are increasingly testing such algorithms to fight crime. The computer model in Chicago, though, is uniquely framed around this city’s particular problems: a large number of splintered gangs; an ever younger set of gang members, according to the police; and a rash of gun violence that is connected to acts of retaliation between gangs.
Supporters of Chicago’s list say that it allows the police to focus on a small fraction of people creating chaos in the city rather than unfairly and ineffectively blanketing whole neighborhoods. But critics wonder whether there is value in predicting who is likely to shoot or be shot with seemingly little ability to prevent it, and they question the fairness and legality of creating a list of people deemed likely to commit crimes at some future time.
Okay. Out of the car! You’re under arrest.
What did I do?
You’re in violation of an algorithm. You’re disconnected.