Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2020
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Predictive Policing under the Ethnographic Microscope: Tracing Policy Mobilities between the New York Police Department and the Chilean National Police

In 2011, Santiago, Chile, witnessed a critical shift from officer-driven crime control to an evidence-based form of policing. While the former attempts to suppress crime based on reactive investigations by police officers, the latter institutionalizes a proactive form of policing that uses spatial data and network models to identify targets for police intervention and to predict where crime is likely to occur and who is likely to be involved. Supported by the Inter-American Development Bank and Altegrity Risk International, a global risk consulting company led by W. Bratton (former chief of the New York Police Department (NYPD), the Chilean National Police created the Tactical System of Crime Analysis (STAD). This is a data-driven predictive policing strategy that was rapidly implemented in marginalized areas experiencing high levels of deprivation and crime. What explains this unprecedented shift to predictive crime control that intensifies police forces in highly deprived urban areas in Santiago? Drawing on in-depth interviews, global ethnography, and archival research methods, this dissertation analyzes this extraordinary turn to predictive policing as a window into spaces and flows of penal policy between the NYPD and the Chilean national police. My analysis of the transnational circulation of predictive policing will focus on the implementation of the STAD in order to explore how formal policies are translated into policing practices and how they generate innovative forms of resistance by the urban poor. Since there is still a dearth of research on how US policing policies have impacted the penal sector in the global South, this project contributes to scholarship on penal policy transfer by shedding light on the ways in which US evidence-based policing informs the emergence of new approaches to policing the urban poor in Santiago.