The Accuracy of the Violent Offender Identification Directive (VOID) Tool to Predict Future Gun Violence

33 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2018 Last revised: 22 Jun 2018

See all articles by Andrew Wheeler

Andrew Wheeler

University of Texas at Dallas - School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences

Robert Worden

John F. Finn Institute for Public Safety; SUNY University at Albany

Jasmine Silver

State University of New York (SUNY) - School of Criminal Justice

Date Written: February 12, 2018

Abstract

We evaluate the Violent Offender Identification Directive (VOID) tool, a risk assessment instrument implemented within a police department to prospectively identify offenders likely to be involved with future gun violence. The tool uses a variety of static measures of prior criminal history that are readily available in police records management systems. The VOID tool is assessed for predictive accuracy by taking a historical sample and calculating scores for over 200,000 individuals known to the police at the end of 2012, and predicting 103 individuals involved with gun violence (either as a shooter or a victim) during 2013. Despite weights for the instrument being determined in an ad-hoc manner by crime analysts, the VOID tool does very well in predicting involvement with gun violence compared to an optimized logistic regression and generalized boosted models. We discuss theoretical reasons why such ad-hoc instruments are likely to perform well in identifying chronic offenders for all police departments.

Keywords: gun-offenders, risk prediction, policing, shootings, violence

Suggested Citation

Wheeler, Andrew and Worden, Robert and Silver, Jasmine, The Accuracy of the Violent Offender Identification Directive (VOID) Tool to Predict Future Gun Violence (February 12, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3122636 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3122636

Andrew Wheeler (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Dallas - School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences ( email )

P.O. Box 830688, GR 31
Richardson, TX 75083
United States

Robert Worden

John F. Finn Institute for Public Safety ( email )

423 New Karner Rd
Albany, NY 12205
United States

SUNY University at Albany ( email )

1400 Washington Avenue
Building, Room 109
Albany, NY 12222
United States

Jasmine Silver

State University of New York (SUNY) - School of Criminal Justice ( email )

Draper 219
1400 Washington Ave.
Albany, NY 12222
United States

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