How IoT and AI is helping to fight crime
You probably read or heard about 1984, a science fiction and anti-utopia masterpiece by George Orwell, where Big Brother was watching every citizen of an imaginary dictatorship country. In 2017 writer predictions became reality. Hopefully, for all of us, technologies are not limiting our freedom but transforming police services and helping prevent crimes. Now evidence, collected from digital devices such as Amazon dot and Fitbit, help to make arrests of real criminals. This is just an example of the transformation that law enforcement and digital forensics will experience because of the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and robots. As it often happens, there are certainly benefits to applying this new technology to help fight crime, but it also raises some challenging questions regarding our right to privacy. Let’s have a closer look at some technological advancements.
Gaming consoles, Echo devices, and even smart bands are providing valuable information to help solve crimes. This data is used by law enforcement agencies all across the world. Police officers and digital forensics specialists are getting trained on how to use digital evidence in their everyday work and what to look for at crime scenes, having these new tools. Previously consumers didn’t realize the real power of connected devices. Now it can be even used to contradict alibis and catch lies. As more and more watches, phones, televisions and other devices appear on the market and our reliance on these digital devices grow, there will be more technical trails available for detectives to analyze and solve a crime.
Another set of eyes and extra data can be provided by police body cams. It’s a normal procedure for officers in European countries and in the USA to use these cameras to improve self-awareness and prevent the unacceptable behavior from potential offenders and criminals they interact with. Knowing the fact that you are recorded is a big deterrent for bad behavior.
Some police cars are equipped with GPS projectiles that can be shot remotely and hook onto the back of an alleged perpetrator’s vehicle. This little trick is helping officers to know where a suspect is located and prevent high-speed and dangerous car pursuits. Another great example of tech advancement is a smart sensor, used inside of an officer’s gun to track down its activity and proper use. This information can be extremely helpful in criminal trials.
Predictive policing, which is based on artificial intelligence predictive algorithms, is used by several law enforcement agencies and police stations in the UK. For example, police in Durham, UK is using an advanced system called Hart (Harm Assessment Risk Tool). It uses a database of individuals and ranks the possibility that they will commit another offense or crime in near future. Probability is calculated with a help of large dataset, gathered between 2008-2013 and assesses people based on the severity of the current crime, criminal history, flight risk and more. While system shows a high percentage of accuracy, experts suggest that these predictive algorithms are far from being perfect as latest studies show that they flag minority defendants as high risk at double the rate of white defendants.
Machine learning, artificial intelligence, predictive technologies and other data-driven approaches are used by more and more law enforcement agencies across the world. The process of solving crimes will be much quicker and more effective with help of digital tools. In near future, these types of algorithms might prove useful to detect serial crimes committed by the same individual or group.
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