Artificial intelligence is now a potent instrument used to revolutionise many industries, including law enforcement and criminal fighting. In recent years, there has been a significant advancement in technology. The way crimes are investigated, prevented, and dealt with has undergone a transformation because of AI’s capacity to analyse enormous volumes of data, spot patterns, and generate precise predictions. Has AI, however, aided in South Africa’s fight against crime? In this article, we will look at that.
How AI can assist in fighting crime
By providing real-time monitoring and analysis and powerful face recognition algorithms that can identify people and compare them to criminal databases, AI has transformed conventional surveillance systems. These technologies have proven to be crucial in reducing crime, protecting public areas, and boosting general security. A data-driven strategy called predictive policing forecasts crime likelihood using past crime data, demography, and other factors, allocating resources appropriately. In terms of lowering crime rates and speeding up reaction times, this data-driven strategy has demonstrated encouraging results.
Large datasets can be processed by AI techniques in a way that reveals hidden patterns and yields insightful conclusions. Law enforcement organisations can more effectively identify prospective suspects, link connected incidents, and uncover crime patterns by integrating AI into their crime analysis systems. This enables detectives to work more quickly, make wiser choices, and crack cases that might otherwise go unsolved.
With the rise of cyber dangers and digital crime, AI is essential for recognising and managing risks. Network traffic is regularly monitored by AI algorithms, which also look for irregularities and potential security holes. Cybersecurity solutions that are AI-powered can proactively defend against cyberattacks, safeguard critical data, and stop financial fraud. In the banking industry, where AI can spot patterns suggestive of fraud, organisations and individuals can avoid significant losses thanks to this technology.
Process automation and improved evidence analysis accuracy have revolutionised forensic investigations. The amount of time needed for identification can be considerably decreased by using AI algorithms to quickly analyse fingerprints, DNA samples, and other forensic data. By boosting surveillance footage, enhancing facial recognition, and finding key evidence, AI-powered image and video analysis technologies hasten investigations and raise the likelihood of successful convictions.
AI and the fight against crime in South Africa
In South Africa, more and more communities are turning to AI’s capabilities to reduce crime levels. Authorities are focusing their efforts in the areas where the majority of the attacks are occurring. With 37% of all attacks occurring in Gauteng, it is once again the province with the highest danger. KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape follow with 20% and 18% of all attacks, respectively. Just over half of all attacks (52%) are the result of road robberies, followed by cross-pavement robberies (33%).
350 new cameras have been put in previously unprotected locations as part of the innovative SafeCity Initiative in Gauteng, which was launched this year in collaboration with Vumacam and other security providers in the area.
As a SafeCity partner, Fidelity ADT and other service providers will now have access to the entire network of more than 6,000 Vumacam cameras. This will enable them to better understand criminal patterns, aid in crime prevention and investigations, and create safer and more secure communities by gaining citywide situational awareness. The sharp rise in contact crimes against women was especially concerning, with attempted murder leading the pack with a whopping 21.5%. Another issue is the country’s unacceptable rise in cash-in-transit robberies, which include armoured cars being ambushed and bombed.
Another issue is the rise in violent crime and easy access to weapons. According to the most recent data from the Cash in Transit Association of South Africa, there were 102 cash-in-transit robberies nationwide in the first four months of 2023 (January–April), an 11% rise over the same period in 2018. Since the attackers are so skilled, they move around depending on where they perceive the holes, which is an issue with the attacks. For instance, 40% of the CIT robberies in April abruptly shifted to KwaZulu-Natal.
Positively, the SAPS was able to detain 12 suspects in April who were connected to some of these occurrences, but the attacks are expensive for the economy. Since these criminals are so skilled, 70% of their attacks in April were successful and caused financial losses, which must be paid for someplace.
We need to put more emphasis on personal safety measures because, for the average person concerned about their personal safety, the way we go about our daily lives has a huge impact on reducing our potential risk of being victimised by crime. The first step is to lead safer lifestyles and to move through the world with more caution.