Incident 433: Chicago Police's Strategic Subject List Reportedly Biased Along Racial Lines

Description: Chicago Police Department (CPD)'s Strategic Subject List as output of an algorithm purportedly to identify victims or perpetrators of violence was reportedly ineffective, easily abused, and biased against low-income communities of color.


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Alleged: Chicago Police Department developed and deployed an AI system, which harmed low-income communities , communities of color and Black Chicago residents.

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Khoa Lam
Police data could be labelling 'suspects' for crimes they have not committed · 2016

A police officer stands at the corner of a busy intersection, scanning the crowd with her body camera. The feed is live-streamed into the Real Time Crime Center at department headquarters, where specialized software uses biometric recogniti…

Study Casts Doubt on Chicago Police’s Secretive “Heat List” · 2016

For the last four years, the Chicago Police Department has kept a list of people they believe are most likely to be involved in a shooting. The list—known as the "heat list" or the Strategic Subject List—was developed using a secret algorit…

Chicago’s predictive policing tool just failed a major test · 2016

Struggling to reduce its high murder rate, the city of Chicago has become an incubator for experimental policing techniques. Community policing, stop and frisk, "interruption" tactics — the city has tried many strategies. Perhaps most contr…

To predict and serve? · 2016

In late 2013, Robert McDaniel – a 22-year-old black man who lives on the South Side of Chicago – received an unannounced visit by a Chicago Police Department commander to warn him not to commit any further crimes. The visit took McDaniel by…

Pitfalls of Predictive Policing · 2016

Consider it the real-life "Minority Report": Chicago police say they're successfully using big data to predict who will get shot — and who will do the shooting. But life is more complicated than the movies. The statistics that police tout t…

Predictive policing violates more than it protects: Column · 2016

From Los Angeles to New York, there is a quiet revolution underway within police departments across the country.

Just as major tech companies and political campaigns have leveraged data to target potential customers or voters, police depart…

Predictive Policing Is Not as Predictive As You Think · 2017

The problem of policing has always been that it's after-the-fact. If law enforcement officers could be at the right place at the right time, crime could be prevented, lives could be saved, and society would surely be safer. In recent years,…

Inside the Algorithm That Tries to Predict Gun Violence in Chicago · 2017

Gun violence in Chicago has surged since late 2015, and much of the news media attention on how the city plans to address this problem has focused on the Strategic Subject List, or S.S.L.

The list is made by an algorithm that tries to predi…

The Contradictions of Chicago Police's Secretive List · 2017

Chicago is a leader in using predictive policing, the use of data and algorithms to inform its overall strategy and on-the-ground decision making. One such tool that’s been used since 2012 is the Strategic Subject List, a computer model tha…

CPD decommissions ‘Strategic Subject List’ · 2020

The Chicago Police Department’s “Strategic Subject List” was quietly put out to pasture in November, according to the Office of the Inspector General, which had raised several issues regarding the program’s efficacy.

After 10 years, the Chi…


A "variant" is an incident that shares the same causative factors, produces similar harms, and involves the same intelligent systems as a known AI incident. Rather than index variants as entirely separate incidents, we list variations of incidents under the first similar incident submitted to the database. Unlike other submission types to the incident database, variants are not required to have reporting in evidence external to the Incident Database. Learn more from the research paper.