RICHARD BERK LIKES to think he knows what criminals will do—even before they know. The statistics professor, who teaches at the University of Pennsylvania, was recently willing to show off his skills. “What is the highest-risk age for re-offending?” he asked. I hazarded the early 20s, and was quickly corrected. “Teens,” he responded. “Actually, the [rate of re-offending] falls off very quickly in the early 20s.” But the trend line doesn’t hold, Berk explained. Violent activity starts to increase again in individuals a decade or so older. “You’re picking up the domestic-violence offenders,” Berk surmised. “They need someone to beat up on, and they’re in their late 30s.”
This sort of behavioral analysis is at the center of Berk’s expanding work as something of a crime predictor—a number cruncher whose algorithms are helping police and corrections officials forecast recidivism. The Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, for instance, has been working with the professor for the past two years. Keep reading . . .From an article by Nadya Labi in The Atlantic. HT: Julio Cole.