Strauss Center News

Updates from the Strauss Center and our affiliated distinguished scholars and fellows


Brayne’s Book Discussed in Recent Intercept Article

Feb 9, 2021 |

A recent piece published by The Intercept discusses the primary findings of Professor Sarah Brayne’s new book, Predict and Surveil: Data, Discretion, and the Future of Policing. Professor Brayne, who is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and a Strauss Center Distinguished Scholar, did months of fieldwork research on the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) use of surveillance technology and big data. Her research exemplifies how “data was used to justify extreme measures,” as noted in the article. It highlights how Brayne’s research presented a unique contribution to the field of criminal justice research as her unit of analysis was the police themselves rather than just those who are being policed. Brayne focused on the use of specific technologies such as license plate readers, data-merging technology, predictive analytics, and more, all of which are brought together to create a perpetually expanding data dragnet. As the article highlights, Brayne’s research illustrates how individuals living in overpoliced neighborhoods are “more likely to be stopped, thus increasing their point value, justifying their increased surveillance, and making it more likely that they will be stopped again in the future.” Brayne hopes that this research will contribute to a renewed conversation on the issue and enhanced civil liberties’ protections, noting that “transparency is the first step towards accountability.” Read the full article here.