Computers can be racist, even when the programmer was not.
The way that most problems like this are solved are by looking at historical data. The historical data is based on what cops have done and, if those cops are racist, that can skew the computer’s handling. If the cops have always patrolled region X five times more thoroughly than region Y and only found twice as many crimes in region X as in Y, that tells all of us that the increased rate of crimes being discovered may be influenced by patrol routes, but the computer is probably not going to get the data about patrol routes, it will just have a list of GPS coordinates of reported crimes and it will assume that this data was produced through wholesome means.
There’s a similar case, but slightly different case, with sniffer dogs. They suffer from more false-positives with people of color than white people, because the dog will have been trained (unconsciously) by its handler to not just react to the smell of drugs, but also to people of color, the body language of the handler, etc. If the handler is expecting the dog to tag someone, then that person will get tagged. Obviously, the dog’s not racist, it’s just following the training regimen it was given.
That said, a programmer or mathematician can also make sure that they get data that won’t be influenced by the cops. Called in reports of crimes - as opposed to those that were discovered by a cop on the patrol - should be relatively trustworthy. Homicides are trustworthy, since it’s not like the cops are producing dead bodies or covering up others. You can ask for information about patrol history and correct for differences in how neighborhoods are being treated. And it’s possible that the people who made the application did do their homework and tried to protect against bias in their input data. Assuming that they didn’t isn’t reasonable.
It’s also worth noting that reality is racist. If you want to buy drugs, you might well drive down to the black neighborhood to scout for a seller, because that’s where you would expect to find it. Subsequently, there’s a market pressure for drug sales in black neighborhoods. There could be a history of racism in the country that prevented black people from being able to get gainful, honest work in respectable professions. And so that turned a larger percentage of that population to crime and, from there, it’s part of that community’s culture. They have the business connections, they have the training from their parents, they have institutional knowledge. It propagates forward through the generations, even past where there is any need to continue it. (Not to imply that most or even many members of those neighborhoods are criminal. Most people are law-abiding even in the worst communities, so far as I’m aware.)
And, yes, you can have cases where you’re being harassed by the cops and distrusted by society because of the color of your skin or the neighborhood you live in, and people figure that they may as well misbehave, do drugs, commit crimes, etc. because you may as well get the benefits of a criminal life if everyone’s going to treat you like you’re living one anyways.
Assuming that crime won’t happen in mostly black or Latino neighborhoods is unreasonable, and it’s just getting people hurt and killed to send the cops out to suburbia just because you want to be racially sensitive.
At the same time, harassing people for things they didn’t do may just perpetuate the problem further.
But then again, if you have enough people watching the right spots at the right times, then that community might find that there’s simply no opportunity to commit misdeeds, and they’ll have to start living clean lives. Or maybe you catch enough of the bad eggs that you can pull them out of the population fast enough that they don’t perpetuate the criminal culture.
Fundamentally, there’s probably no good and genial answer for this on the policing side of things.
The only research I’m aware of which has helped to solve the issue is to try and distribute low-income households out into the middle and high-income neighborhoods, so that the kids are going to school with suburbanites.
But even there, you can say that you’re destroying the culture of that community and just forcing everyone to be “white”.
There’s no easy answers. No matter what you do, there’s an argument that you’re being immoral and oppressive. At least with numbers, like total number of people shot and killed in town, you can be certain that you’re improving the world in at least one way.