Can an Algorithm Catch a Serial Killer? - Freethink
On The Cusp

Can an Algorithm Catch a Serial Killer?

5,484,536 Total Views
5,484,536 Total Views

A self-professed data nerd, Thomas Hargrove believes everything around us is following a mathematical formula…including murder.

For years, the only way to identify potential serial killers was by chance. One investigator had to learn of the details of another case and draw parallels with a case they were working on. Hargrove wanted to find a better way.

Armed with public homicide records, he created an algorithm that processes relevant data and identifies patterns in different cases. When a pattern emerges, it may indicate a case of a serial killer. He says it’s basically a “Dewey Decimal System of death.”

While his work strips each case down to only string of numbers, the work is very personal to him. He believes his algorithm can be a powerful force to save lives across the country. And has the evidence to back it up.

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