According to the New York Times, the NYPD met this week to delve into ways of identifying potential mass shooters through the web in advance of them pulling the trigger.
They intend to develop algorithms that will search online “for terms used by active shooters in the past that may be an indicator of future intentions.”
I imagine they would also be looking for online behaviors that fit the mass shooter profile, for example obsessive Google searches on certain terms.
Much has been written already about the mass shooter phenomenon – see this comprehensive list at Inside Nova, but reducing this into a set of algorithms that can help prevent this ghastly activities would be welcomed.
In fact, a quick glance at this Wikipedia list of mass shootings, and you can see that this is not limited to the United States (contrary to the saturation of the media around the recent awful Sandy Hook shootings). I would hope that whatever is developed by the NYPD can be “open sourced” to other police forces around the world.