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How 'Linkage Blindness' Impacts Murder Investigations

From Audio: 1 | Afrikka Didn't Need to Die

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Duration: 02:51
In this snippet, the Algorithm podcast discovers how 'linkage blindness' can affect the algorithm of crime. Listen to learn how connections between murders can be missed by police due to jurisdictional conflicts.
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In this snippet, the Algorithm podcast discovers how 'linkage blindness' can affect the algorithm of crime. Listen to learn how connections between murders can be missed by police due to jurisdictional conflicts.
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if someone is murdered, a detective is assigned to the case. When another person is murdered, Usually a different detective is assigned to the case. If there are commonalities to the two murders, those commonalities are not recognized unless those two detectives have a conversation over the water cooler. If those killings occurred in a neighboring jurisdiction, that conversation never happens. Experts in the field were saying that most connected murders go unrecognized. The links are very rarely made and I kept that in the back of my mind, Hargrove didn't know it yet, but this simple insight about linkage blindness. That connections between murders are often missed by police. That idea would become an obsession and completely alter the course of his life. But his next clue wouldn't come until decades later when he was halfway across the country, Hargrove had climbed up through the ranks and in 2004 he was living his teenage dream. He was working as an investigative reporter in Washington D. C. And he was using the programming skills he learned in college to write big data driven stories. In 2004, I was assigned to do a really interesting story. He just started a piece on prostitution when he stumbled across another clue in some cities, anti prostitution laws are vigorously enforced in other cities. The laws are virtually ignored and in other cities, just the men who hire prostitutes are arrested. So it was all across the board who gets arrested. Whether anyone gets arrested to study this, I needed the uniform crime report because prostitution is something the FBI counts. So Hargrove ordered a Cd with FBI records about crime. He was planning to compare prostitution arrests between different cities when he discovered something else included on that cd. At no extra charge was a file I had never heard of called the supplemental homicide report. Being paid to be curious, I opened it up and what it was was line after line of individual murders. It showed the a trace sex of each Victim victim is a black male, 18 years old. It had the weapon that was used. He was shot with a handgun. It had the police theory as to why the homicide occurred. The murder is thought to be due to an argument over money or property. It had the month and year and the jurisdiction january.
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