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Police Assign 'Heat Score' To 398,000 People To Track Violence

By Tanveer Ali | May 12, 2017 1:49pm | Updated on May 19, 2017 11:42am

CHICAGO — Over 398,000 people are on a Chicago Police Department database used by police to identify and track those who are most likely to be involved in gun violence.

The list used to build the smaller "strategic subject list" was made public earlier this month and released following a legal battle with the Sun-Times

Police officials have referred to the list throughout the last several months, saying it shows a small fraction of people have been driving an uptick in gun violence.

"We know who's driving it. We have a strategic subject list," Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said in June.

"That list documents people. It's a computer software program that documents who will most likely be victims of gun violence or the perpetrators of gun violence," he said.

The public list — which was stripped of names — shows that 398,684 people who have been fingerprinted or arrested by Chicago Police since 2013 are assigned a heat score of 0 to 500, which 500 being the highest risk. It includes sex, race, age group and some geographic information plus how many arrests and number of gun and drug offenses.

"We have about 1,400 individuals who score 480+ which are the highest risk to become a suspect or victim of gun violence," said police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.

"Like a credit score, the SSL is a simply a tool that calculates risk," Guglielmi said. "It is not used for enforcement and does not establish probable cause for arrest or even questioning."

The list, developed with Illinois Institute of Technology, also has predictor indexes for being affiliated with gangs.

Guglielmi said police use the list to identify the most at-risk people and reaches out to community organizations to help them in "finding success in life outside of crime."