To preempt a thief

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41 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the implications of recent developments in predictive policing, defined as the use of data-mining tools to predict and preempt criminal activity, for the relationship between citizenship and surveillance. It uses the example of predictive policing to consider the difference between panoptic modes of surveillance and emerging practices of environmental surveillance. The former rely on public awareness of surveillance and the internalization of the monitoring gaze, whereas the latter rely on actuarial modes of prediction. The growing emphasis on strategies for preemption rather than on policies for prevention displace political deliberation with technological expertise and work in the direction of automated decision making about resource allocation and armed response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)879-896
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Communication
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Panopticon
  • Predictive policing
  • Preemption
  • Simulation
  • Surveillance

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