Crime is one of the main things that plague society in terms of human-to-human interaction. Even worse, the ways to commit it are only growing. The problem with modern technology crime is that people don’t deem it serious if no one was physically hurt or it wasn’t visible. In reality, people could lose millions digitally in a blink of an eye. They could also be shamed, threatened, stalked, and blackmailed, and never report the crime. But whether it’s the type that’s been committed for centuries, decades, or only the last few years, we can all agree it should be eliminated. So, here’s how technology prevents crime.
Here are 3 areas where technology predicts crime before it happens:
Remote sensing, data mapping applications, and geographic information systems are mapping technologies that use AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning. They analyze real-time information from multiple sources – weather reports, social media feeds, public transit maps, CCTV, satellites, etc. Afterward, they draw up crime hotspots and point out patterns of activity. This is particularly useful for organized crime that relies on a routine or geographical location. For example, gangs, human trafficking, drug smuggling, illegal weapons import, etc. Simultaneously, it helps daily police work and emergency response.
AI technologies excel at analyzing massive amounts of data and spitting out results, which is perfect for threat assessment. In practice, this was proven by the police stations in Durham, England. Their AI-assisted tool, Harm Assessment Risk, ingested data collected from the Durham Constabulary between 2008 and 2012. It was then able to forecast the risk of future intervention and correctly predicted low-risk engagement 98% of the time. Additionally, it could determine whether they should release a suspect on bail or keep him incarcerated. This can erase human errors that lead to suspects hiding, fleeing, taking hostages, or even killing someone. Additionally, eye detection software and motion sensors can estimate the perpetrators’ physical and psychological state, help detect lying, and gauge if the individual is prone to violent outbursts.
Encryption, privacy, security online
We examined these areas of digital and online protection under benefit 8 of our “how technology keeps us safe” article. Technically, they’re a double-edged sword, since they also allow criminals to remain incognito and avoid persecution.
We discussed surveillance technology in the aforementioned article under benefits 6 and 7. What we didn’t mention are self-flying gliders, which only need little power to take off. Then, they remain in the air through the power of the wind, and some can even draw power from the sunlight. Moreover, researchers from the University of California San Diego equipped an onboard computer that controls the glider remotely. This isn’t new, but due to price and secrecy, it only had a military application. We predict that long-distance cameras, combined with self-sufficient gliders will start stopping crime commercially soon.
Everyone should know that their location and identity can be tracked via SIM cards and GPS technology, and we can thank smart devices and Internet connection for that. But technology helps identify criminals like this too:
Anonymous crime reporting
One of the most valuable ways technology prevents crime is human resources. Police can’t be everywhere, and neither can technology, but people are. And, they should be able to disclose suspicious behavior. But most of them are scared of being framed by police or attacked by the suspect. Although anonymous tips could be submitted for decades, they had to come from a landline, letter, or payphone, which beats the point. Luckily, nowadays you can use a VPN or call anonymously. Some countries offer crime-reporting apps, which use encryption and have a built-in proxy service.
Facial recognition and biometrics
Authorities can acquire biometrics from a driver’s license or ID. Examples include a signature (used to match handwriting), front, side, and back pictures, and a fingerprint. Smartphone and computer users who use biometrics to unlock their devices via IR 3D scan of the face, iris scan, or fingerprint sensor, volunteer their data too. Mass surveillance projects can then utilize biometrics to locate and identify people based on their physical characteristics.
Even with everything mentioned above, criminals still slip away from the tight grip of the law. Well, whether they like it or not, we all leave hundreds of digital traces of our activity daily. When trained correctly, AI and machine learning can connect those dots, no matter how small or seemingly irrelevant they are and identify the individual based on their behavior.
Police officers and military personnel are injured or killed in the line of duty daily. And while nothing can stop a perpetrator from sitting in an ambush, technology can prevent him from causing damage. Dubai already implemented robot police officers. Actually, they plan to make them 25% of the total police force by 2050. For now, they allow citizens to pay fines or report crimes. We believe that technology advancements can help introduce robots that allow police officers to act from a distance, and soon. This would allow them to safely approach, negotiate with, or apprehend the suspect. After all, robots can already detect and dismantle bombs. Another significant aspect is mandatory body-worn cameras. They have a proven track record (crime reduction and low complaints percentages) since they improve accountability on both sides.
5. Criminal justice
Here are 2 technologies that have revolutionized criminal investigations:
Although primarily used to solve crimes, DNA technology prevents crime too. According to 2017 research, violent offenders with a known DNA profile are 17% less likely to re-offend. Property lawbreakers had a 6% less chance to repeat an offense. Best of all, the development of rapid DNA machines reduces the need for laboratories, employees, and infrastructure, and makes expanding and inter-connecting DNA databases cheaper.
3D laser technology prevents crime by analyzing previous ones. Instead of taking pictures and using pen and paper, 3D technology essentially “freezes” a crime scene in time. It does this by scanning the area in all directions (360°) and rendering it in 3D with incredible accuracy. Authorities can then import and examine the render via VR (Virtual Reality) or AR (Augmented Reality) technology. This also eliminates paperwork, inadmissible evidence, or human errors.