Over 450 academics reject Predpol

12 min readOct 9, 2019

Over 400 academics, faculty and students, from universities across the United States and abroad join 65 UCLA faculty and students rejecting the merits and ethics of UCLA Professor Jeff Brantingham’s research behind Predpol and other algorithm and location-based policing, calling it “troubling legacies of anthropology and the social sciences.”

Here’s the Letter with Signatures and Affiliations:

Dear Los Angeles Police Commission,

We are writing in response to Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore’s references to the academic support for the LAPD’s Predictive Policing earlier this year and the upcoming announcement of its Precision Policing program.

As university faculty members and graduate students from UCLA and around the country, we are writing to clarify the extent of this support for Predictive Policing and other algorithm-based policing programs. We feel compelled to respond to Chief Moore’s comments and the ongoing commitment to Predpol and algorithm-based policing.

Jeffrey Brantingham, an archaeological anthropologist and colleague to many of us, has conducted research on crime modeling and predictive policing. He also co-founded Predpol, which was formed in collaboration with LAPD Deputy Chief Sean Malinowski and has, in the past, been contracted by the LAPD to administer its predictive policing program. Professor Brantingham and his co-researchers have drawn on the discipline of anthropology to support their claims about the efficacy of predictive policing.

As an earlier letter sent by scholars in February expressed, to the extent that Professor Brantingham and his UCLA colleagues represent an academic stamp of approval of predictive policing and other algorithm- and location-based methods for Chief Moore, we wish to make it very clear: there is not universal agreement or acceptance of the empirical merit and the ethics of this research in anthropology or in other disciplines.

On the contrary, many anthropologists and other scholars who read his and others’ scholarship on algorithm- and location-based policing believe it represents some troubling legacies of anthropology and the social sciences. Among our concerns, which we can share in more detail, are (1) whether the research meets the ethical obligation outlined in the anthropological code of ethics to ensure our research does not harm the people affected by it, and (2) how its use of historical crime data naturalizes policies and practices that have had disparate impacts on Black and Brown communities.

Academics’ concerns about algorithm- and location- based policing and Predpol in particular are not limited to anthropology. Scholars in law, such as Columbia Professor Bernard Harcourt, math and data science, such as the Harvard-trained mathematician Cathy O’Neill and other disciplines have also expressed their serious reservations about the empirical and ethical rigor of this research.

We appreciate that the LAPD is paying attention to academic literature, and we encourage them to also review the scholarship that raises questions about Predpol, highlights the dangers of all algorithm- and location-based policing, and asks why crime algorithms, and not accountability, continue to be the priority of departments like the LAPD.


Melina Abdullah, Cal State LA faculty, Pan-African Studies

Laura Abrams, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs faculty

Leisy Abrego, UCLA faculty, Chicana/o Studies

Samar Al-Bulushi, UCI faculty, Anthropology

Sabrina Alimahomed-Wilson, California State University Long Beach faculty, Sociology

Bita Amani, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science faculty, Urban Public Health

Mike Ananny, University of Southern California faculty, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

Hannah Appel, UCLA faculty, Anthropology

Cesar Ayala, UCLA faculty, Sociology

Burcu Baykurt, UMass Amherst faculty, Communication

Dorothea Beane, Stetson College of Law faculty, Law

Joseph Berra, UCLA Law School faculty, Law

Maylei Blackwell, UCLA faculty, Chicana and Chicano Studies

Eve Brown, University of California Santa Cruz faculty, Psychology and African American Studies

Scott Bowman, Texas State University faculty, Criminal Justice

Jessica Cattelino, UCLA faculty, Anthropology

Matthew Charity, Western New England University faculty, Law

David Chavez, California State University Los Angeles faculty, Latin American Studies

John Cheney-Lippold, University of Michigan faculty, American Culture

Andy Clarno, University of Illinois at Chicago faculty, Sociology and African American Studies

Dana M. Collins, California State University, Fullerton, Sociology

Sasha Costanza-Chock, Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty, CMSW

Alexandra Cox, University of Essex, Sociology

Kate Crawford, NYU faculty, AI Now Institute

Roderic N. Crooks, University of California, Irvine faculty, Informatics

Dana Cuff, UCLA faculty, Architecture and Urban Design

Andrew Culp, Calarts faculty

Lisa Davis, CUNY School of Law faculty, Law

Frank Deale, CUNY Law School faculty, Law

Julia DeCook, Loyola University Chicago faculty, School of Communication

Juan De Lara, University of Southern California faculty, American Studies and Ethnicity

Dawn A. Dennis, Cal State University, Los Angeles faculty, History

Catherine D’Ignazio, Emerson College faculty, Journalism

Paul Dourish, UCI, Informatics

Marianne Drummond, Long Beach USD faculty, Mathematics

Christina Dunbar-Hester, University of Southern California faculty, Annenberg School for Communication

Kathleen Dunn, Pasadena City College faculty

Robert J. Duran, Texas A&M University faculty, Sociology

Ken Ehrlich, UC Riverside faculty, Art Department

Hamid R. Ekbia, Indiana University, Bloomington faculty, Informatics and International Studies

Kouross Esmaeli, Pitzer College faculty, Media Studies

Jessica Feldman, American University of Paris faculty, Department of Global Communications

Max Felker-Kantor, Ball State University faculty, History

Laura Forlano, Illinois Institute of Technology faculty, Institute of Design

Tanya Golash-Boza, UC Merced faculty, Sociology

Pablo Gonzalez, UC Berkeley faculty, Ethnic Studies

Sonya Goshe, Ohio Dominican University faculty, Criminology and Criminal Justice

Guadalupe Granero, University of Buenos Aires faculty

John Hagedorn, University of Illinois-Chicago faculty, Criminology Law and Justice

Peter Hanink, Cal Poly Pomona faculty, Criminology/Sociology

Mary Hatcher-Skeers, Scripps College faculty, Keck Science

Kelly Lytle Hernández, UCLA faculty, History/African American Studies/Urban Planning

Kathy Ho, Stanford University faculty, School of Law

Grace Kyungwon Hong, UCLA faculty, Asian American Studies/ Gender Studies

Babe Howell, CUNY School of Law faculty

Stephanie Hutin, Pitzer College faculty, Media Studies

Gaye Theresa Johnson, UCLA faculty, Chicano Studies and African American Studies

Tabatha L. Jones Jolivet, APU, School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences faculty, Higher Education

Tony S. Jugé, Pasadena City College faculty, Social Sciences

Robin D. G. Kelley, UCLA faculty, History

Ndindi Kitonga, Longy School of Music of Bard College faculty, Education

Tamara Kneese, University of San Francisco faculty

Liz Koslov, UCLA faculty, Urban Planning, Environment and Sustainability

Peter Kraska, Eastern Kentucky University faculty, School of Justice Studies

Geoff Kuenning, Harvey Mudd College faculty, Computer Science

Rahim Kurwa, University of Illinois — Chicago faculty, Criminology Law and Justice

Vinay Lal, UCLA faculty, History

Travis Linnemann, Kansas State University faculty, Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work

Michael Litwack, University of Alberta faculty, English and Film Studies

Albert Lowe, Antioch University faculty, Urban Sustainability

Theresa Lynn, Harvey Mudd College faculty, Physics

Lilith Mahmud, UC Irvine faculty, Anthropology

Tayyab Mahmud, Seattle University faculty, Law

Jeffrey Martin, University of Illinois faculty, Anthropology

Shannon Mattern, The New School faculty, Anthropology

Kyle T. Mays, UCLA Social Sciences faculty, African American Studies

Brendan McQuade, University of Southern Maine faculty, Criminology

Jasmine McNealy, University of Florida faculty

Pankaj Mehta, Boston University faculty, Physics and Hariri Institute for Computing

Erica R. Meiners, Northeastern Illinois University faculty, WGS

Naomi Murakawa, Princeton University faculty, African American Studies

Russell Newman, Emerson College faculty, Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies

Safiya U Noble, UCLA faculty, Information Studies

Daniel Olmos, CSU Northridge faculty, Sociology

Harmony O’Rourke, Pitzer College faculty, History

Sherry Ortner, UCLA faculty, Anthropology

Steven Osuna, California State University, Long Beach faculty, Sociology

Leslie Paik, City College of New York faculty, Sociology

Michael Palm, UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, Communication / American Studies

Jane Paul, Antioch University Los Angeles, Urban Sustainability & Urban Studies

Joe Parker, Pitzer College faculty, Intercultural Studies

Jennifer Petersen, USC faculty, Communication

Kavita Philip, University of California, Irvine faculty, History

Susan A Phillips, Pitzer College faculty, Environmental Analysis

Victor Pickard, University of Pennsylvania faculty, Communication

Jemima Pierre, UCLA faculty, African American Studies/Anthropology

Raechel Portelli, Michigan State University faculty, Geography

Miriam Posner, UCLA faculty, Information Studies

Laura Pulido, University of Oregon faculty, Indigenous, Race, and Ethnic Studies

Megan Raschig, CSU Sacramento faculty, Anthropology

Anthony Ratcliff, California State University Los Angeles faculty, Pan-African Studies

Johnavalos Rios, UC Riverside faculty, Music Department

Adrian Riskin, Whittier College faculty, Mathematics

Amy E. Ritterbusch, UCLA faculty, Social Welfare

Sarah T. Roberts, UCLA faculty

Cesar Rodriguez, SFSU faculty, Criminal Justice Studies

Brendan Roediger, Saint Louis University School of Law faculty, School of Law

Ananya Roy, UCLA faculty, Urban Planning

Niloufar Salehi, UC Berkeley, School of Information

Tony Samara, George Mason University faculty, Sociology and Anthropology

Margaret Satterthwaite, NYU School of Law faculty, Law

R Joshua Scannell, New School faculty, School of Media Studies

Judah Schept, Eastern Kentucky University faculty, Justice Studies

Xanda Schofield, Harvey Mudd College faculty, Computer Science

David K. Seitz, Harvey Mudd College faculty, Humanities, Social Sciences and the Arts

Eric Sheppard, UCLA faculty, Geography

Kristina Shull, Harvard University faculty, Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History

Esther Sullivan, University of Colorado Denver faculty, Sociology

Molly Talcott, Cal State LA faculty, Sociology

Timothy D. Taylor, UCLA faculty, Ethnomusicology

Nanna Bonde Thylstrup, Copenhagen Business School faculty

Alison Trope, USC faculty, Annenberg School of Communication

Karen Umemoto, UCLA College of Social Sciences, Urban Planning and Asian American Studies

Liliana Urrutia, ELAC / UCLA Graduate School Alumna faculty, Social Science

Madison Van Oort, Saint Paul College faculty, Sociology

Bharat Venkat, UCLA faculty

Alejandro Villalpando, California State University, Los Angeles faculty, Pan-African and Latin American Studies

Alicia Virani, UCLA faculty, Law

Cristina Visperas, USC faculty

Alex S Vitale, Brooklyn College faculty, Sociology

Tyler Wall, University of Tennessee, Knoxville faculty, Sociology

Devra A Weber, UC Riverside faculty

Robert Weide, UCI faculty, Sociology

Robert Werth, Rice University faculty, Sociology

Khadijah White, Rutgers University — New Brunswick faculty, Journalism and Media Studies

Meredith Whittaker, New York University faculty, AI Now Institute

Carlin Wing, Scripps University faculty, Department of Media Studies

Kerry Woodward, California State University, Long Beach faculty, Sociology

Morgan Woolsey, UCLA faculty, LGBTQ Studies

Qimin Yang, Harvey Mudd College faculty, Engineering

Emily Yen, Trinity College faculty, Urban Studies

Steven Zeidman, CUNY School of Law faculty

Jeremy Abbott, UCLA

Amanda Acevedo, School of Social Ecology

Robyn B. Adams, Michigan State University

Akua Agyen, UCLA

Adebisi Akinyemi, UCI

Tselot Aklilu, Scripps College

Maryanne Alderson, University of California, Irvine

Sanna Ali, Stanford University

Deen Amanat, Pomona College

Judith G. Anderson, Cuesta College

Taharka Anderson, CSULB

Anushka R Aqil, Johns Hopkins University

Lily Applbaum, Pomona College

Anthony Asadullah, Samad California State University, Dominguez Hills

Cecilia Avelar, Santa Clara university

Melissa Avina-Beltran, UCLA

Emma Ben Ayoun, University of Southern California

Cecilia Bachmann, Pasadena City College

Megan Baker, UCLA

Ian Baran, UCI

xiili bassett, Princeton University

Marina Bell, University of California, Irvine

Isabeau J Belisle Dempsey, Seattle University

tonatiuh beltran, University of California Berkeley

Nora Berguem, Whittier College

Ari Berrong-Huber, UCLA

Brian James Bishop, Pomona College

Iris Blake, UCR

LaBreonna Bland, University of California, Irvine

Burcu Buğu, UCLA

Joy Buolamwini, MIT

Brendon Jerome Butler, University of California, Irvine

Nemesio Cabral, UC Berkeley

Melissa D. Cabrera, UCLA

Romy Candon, Pitzer College

Bradley Cardozo, UCLA

Michael Cerda-Jara, University of California, Berkeley

Fatima Charara, UC Irvine

Joana Chavez, UCLA

Elijah Chhum, UC Berkeley

Robert Chlala, University of Southern California

Hye Young Choi, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Alyssa Cisneros, University of California, Irvine

Kevin A. Clinton Jr. Peoples College of Law

Kyle Conniff, UC Irvine

Gabriel Cortina, UCLA

Nicola Chávez Courtright, USC

Kelley Cotter, Michigan State University

Britney Craig, Cal State University, Dominguez Hills

Sasha Crawford-Holland, University of Chicago

Larissa Cursaro, Scripps College

Laura Czerniecki, UCLA

Yaneli Delgado, CSULB

Adit Dhanushkodi, Art Center College of Design

Sukti Dhital, NYU School of Law

Rebecca DiBennardo, UCLA

Addison Dickens, UCLA

Aislinn Doering, UCR

Sophie Duncan, University of British Columbia

Courtney Echols, University of California, Irvine

Avalon Edwards, Pitzer College

Jacqueline Espinoza, UCLA

Kareem Estefan, Brown University

Raymond Fang, University of California, Irvine

Albert Faz, East Los Angeles College

Juan Flores, University of California, Berkeley

Sarah Fox, University of California, San Diego

Sophia Franco, UC Berkeley

Spike Friedman, UCLA

Sal Wanying Fu, UC Berkeley

Sara G, Cal State LA

Jael Gallegos, UC Santa Barbara

Nataly Escobedo Garcia, University of California, Irvine

Mikaela Garcia, UCLA

Joslyn Gardner, Pomona College

Tess Gibbs, Scripps College

Olivia Gleason, Scripps College

Paola Giron-Carson, Scripps College

Vivianna Goh, UCI

Eric Goldfischer, University of Minnesota

Isabel Gonzales, University of California, Irvine

Veronica Gonzalez, University of California, Irvine

Aja Grande, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Terra Graziani, UCLA

Ben Green, Harvard University

Rosa Greenbaum, University of California, Irvine

Corazon Gutierrez, California State University Los Angeles

Alex Hack, USC

Lucy Hadley, Georgetown University

Aditi Halbe, UCLA

Madeleine Hamlin, Syracuse University

Elizabeth Handschy, University of Iowa

Serene Harb, Scripps College

Alexia Hatun, UCLA

Conor Healy, UC Berkeley

Meg Healy, UCLA

Jazmin Hernandez, UC Berkeley

Jose Hernandez, California State University of Northridge

Raul Herrera, UCSD

Eliot Hetterly, CUNY Hunter College

Leah Higgins, Pitzer College

Alana de Hinojosa, UCLA

Leah Horgan, UC Irvine

Brendan Hornbostel, George Washington University

Emilie Hu, Scripps College

Gigi Hume, Scripps College

Navi Huskey, UCI

James Huynh, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

Lauren Ilano, UCLA

Ellie Immerman, MIT

Sireen Irsheid, University of Chicago

Margaret Jack, Cornell University

Jelisa, University of Houston

Mya Johnson, Pitzer College

Ivy Jones, Pitzer College

PJ Jong, UCLA School of Law

Miriam Juarez, NYU

Sucharita Kanjilal, UCLA

Brandon Kaplan, Pomona College

Aleksandra Karapetrova, University of California, Riverside

Hunter Kennedy, University of Chicago

Laila Kent, Scripps College

Abby Kerfoot, UCLA

Danielle Kerrigan, McGill University

Os Keyes, University of Washington

Kelsey Kim, UCLA

Sophia Knowlton-Latkin, Scripps College

Mo Kumar, CSULB

Sookie Kwak, UCLA

Jolo Labio, Pomona College

Elias A. Lawliet, University of California, Berkeley

Ryan Lawrence, UCSB

Crystal Lee, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Joyce S. Lee, UC Berkeley

Jeremy Levenson, UCLA

Maya Levine, Pitzer College

Tova Levine, Scripps College

Emma Li, Scripps College

Janelle Li, Pomona College

Jason Li, UCLA

Arlo Van Liew, Pitzer College

Jasmine Lin, UCLA

Mary Lipscomb, UCLA School of Law

Yiran Liu, Stanford University

Jason Livingston, University at Buffalo

Jeanette Lomeli, Scripps College

Kristy Lovich, UC Irvine

David Lucero, University of Southern California

Sylvie Lydon, USC

Maya Lynch, Scripps College

Abigail Mack, UCLA

Katherine Maldonado, University of California Riverside

Luis Malik, Harvard University

Momin Malik, Harvard University

Areej Malley, UCLA

Sita Mamidipudi, UCLA

Eleanor Mammen, Scripps College

Abhi Manivannan, UCLA

Steven Mann, UCLA

Sierra Marcelius, UCLA

Aaron Markowitz, California Institute of Technology

Tal Marom, UC San Diego

Britany Marticorena, Pitzer College

Deyanira Nevarez Martinez, University of California Irvine

Lleymi Martinez

Mario Martinez, UCLA

Vicente Mata, UCI

Joshua Mayer, UCLA

Kristen Maziarka, University of California, Irvine

Daniela Medina, UC Berkeley

Emily Merel, UCLA School of Law

Alessia Milstein, Pitzer College

Kimberly Miranda, UCLA

Aidan Moore, Pomona College

Maddie Moore, Scripps College

Mayra Moreno, Cal State Dominguez Hills

Brian Moreno, California state university, Los Angeles

Gilbert Anthony Murillo, University of California, Santa Barbara

Sam N, Scripps College

Ishta Nabakka, Scripps College

Isabel Neal, University of Michigan

Charlotte Neary-Bremer, UCLA

Deyanira Nevarez Martinez, University of California Irvine

Lena Nguyen, University of California, Los Angeles

Akua Nkansah-Amankra, University of Southern California

Lydia Nicholson, UCLA

Liam O’Connor, Pitzer College

Sean O’Connor, Pomona College

Ani Oganesyan, UCLA

Benedict Olgado, UC Irvine

Indigo Olson, Scripps College

Omar, UCI

Stephanie Keeney Parks, UCLA

Emma Pask, University of Chicago

Sofia Pedroza, UCLA

Peishi, Caltech

Celina Peña, University of New Mexico

Jonathan Penn, Harvard University

Arlinda Perez, UC Berkeley

Jazmin Perez, Chaffey College

Nina Perez-Morales, University of California, Berkeley

Grayson Peters, UCLA

Aimee Peterson, UCLA

Isabela Piedrahita, Pitzer College

Peter Polack, UCLA

Emanuel Preciado, UC Irvine

Thomas Patrick Pringle, Brown University

Peyton Provenzano, UC Berkeley Law

Alejandro Pulido, SFSU

Ricardo Ramirez, ELAC/UCLA

Sayd Randle, University of Southern California

Salvador Rangel, UCSB

Stephen C. Rea, UC Irvine

Elizabeth Resor, UC Berkeley

Matthew William Richard, UCLA

Amanda Riggle, University of California, Riverside

Clare Roberts, Grinnell College

diana rodriguez, Pomona College

Karla Rodriguez, UCLA

Apollo Rosas, UC Berkeley

Jasmine Rosales, Ucla

Adam Rosenberg, Pomona College

Eduardo Ruano, Santa Clara University

Mackenzie Rutherford, Scripps College

Sophia S, Santa Clara University

Christopher A. Sadler, Eastern Michigan University

Iliane Sánchez, East Los Angeles College

Monica Reyes Santiago, UCLA

John S. Seberger, University of California, Irvine

Nickolas Segura, Whittier College

Boaz Sender, Harvard University

Aaron Shapiro, New York University

J Shim, UCLA

Timothy Slade, UC Berkeley

Janine Sakiko Slaker, Michigan State University

Summer Sloane-Britt, NYU

Khirad Siddiqui, University of California, Irvine

Jake Sim, UCB

Corey Smith, Scripps College

Johnny Smith, UC Berkeley

Sophia Smith, Santa Clara University

Jen Snyder, University of Delaware

Elena Sobrino, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Aaron Solorio, University of California, Berkeley

Zayda Sorrell, Medina University of California Irvine

Hava Sprung, Pitzer College

Talor, UCI

Lauren Textor, UCLA

Russell Thomas, UC Davis

Natalia Toscano, University of New Mexico

Ginah Tran, UC Berkeley

Luis Trujillo, UC Riverside

Michael Anthony Turcios, USC

Dagan VanDemark, Georgetown University Law Center

Benny VanDerburgh, University of Chicago

Mark Velazco, Mt. San Antonio College

Fernanda Jahn Verri, Luskin School of Public Affairs

Nicholas Timothy Walrath, Cal Poly Pomona

Katie Walter, Stanford

Jazzmyn Ward, UCSB

Rachel Wells, UCLA

Sam White, Pomona College

Linda Williams, University of Redlands

Simonne Willis, Pomona College

Jacob Woocher, UCLA School of Law

Kyla Worrell, UCLA

Mya Worrell, USC

Amy Young, UCLA

Akina Younge, Harvard Kennedy School

Omar Zahzah, UCLA

Carrie Zaremba, Pomona College

Eszter Zimanyi, USC




Taking a stance against wholesale criminalization via police surveillance. Rescind LAPD Special Order 1(1)!