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Here’s an interesting Bloomberg article on a retired journalist named Thomas Hargrove and his Murder Accountability Project. He has built a huge database of unsolved murders across America and uses it for purposes like alerting police departments that there might be a serial killer at work. For example, he tried to warn Gary, Indiana police department that his algorithm showed a high likelihood that all those youngish women being strangled in recent year there weren’t just caused by bad luck. The Gary cops ignored him until some guy they arrested for a new murder started confessing to several of the old ones identified by Hargrove.
Thomas Hargrove is building software to identify trends in unsolved murders using data nobody’s bothered with before.
by Robert Kolker
February 8, 2017, 4:00 AM PST
Here in L.A. a freelance journalist named Christine Pelisek did something similar to alert the cops about the Grim Sleeper serial killer.
It seems like these kind of datamining moneyball techniques have tended to turn up overlooked black serial killers.
Our society developed a big stereotype that serial killers are white. And serial killers are, indeed, probably whiter than run of the mill killers. But that racial stereotype probably led cops to miss the existence of several black serial killers.
It’s kind of like how our society has a stereotype that quality football receivers are black, which is mostly accurate. But Bill Belichick, the smartest man in football, has exploited this common racial prejudice to find affordable quality white receivers.
In our culture, it’s disastrous to one’s career to be overly biased against blacks, but almost nobody notices if you are overly biased against whites.
Also, here’s an interesting graph of trends in murder clearance rates by police departments.