Technology innovations such as drones, biometrics and predictive analytics have played a significant role in crime prevention as it has assisted law enforcement. We will look at the role that technology has played in crime prevention and policing.
The use of technology in assisting law enforcement is not a new phenomenon as in the past; they installed digital cameras on the roads to detect notable speeding and any traffic regulation violations. However, there are new cybercrimes that law enforcement has to deal with while having to address crimes like shoplifting, disturbances, and domestic violence.
The first technology innovation that has assisted in crime prevention and policing is drone technology. Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with cameras, and they are also significantly cheaper than using helicopters. Using drones ensures that law enforcement has all-around patrolling of areas and enable rapid responses during emergencies.
Using drones enables the police to gain essential data analytics that will assist them in analysing and understanding the crime trends. Drone aerial surveillance includes elements such as data collection, visible policing, incidence response, and monitoring situations on the ground in real-time.
Since drones provide an aerial view of the area, they can be helpful in situations such as when there is a vehicle chase, and a criminal makes a turn and the police lose them. The drone will provide a bird’s eye view of what is occurring on the road; this can be sent to the control room, assisting in catching the criminals. Drones can also be beneficial for investigating fatal and severe accident scenes as the detailed photographs captured by the drones ensures quicker evidence gathering allowing roads to be opened quicker.
Smartphones assist in police investigations
The police can use their smartphones to quickly gain information which is crucial in most instances, such as kidnapping, where immediacy is vital as the quick retrieval of information can save lives. Law enforcement may also use smartphones to gain suspect profiles, location history and criminal history.
There has been some debate regarding smartphone tracking by the police, but the ability to track criminals using their smartphones is significant technological advancement. The police can gain access to their suspect’s movement before, during, and after committing a crime. Smartphone tracking is also beneficial for resolving crimes as the tracking capabilities can assist in proving the innocence or guilt of suspects.
Social media has played a role in crime prevention as it has assisted the police in discovering new ways to engage and connect with their community. Many police departments have started their social media accounts on different platforms as a way to engage with their community and receive tips from members of the community in real-time. The ability to receive tips in real-time has become invaluable as it allows them to solve crimes. The police can also gain the community’s trust through direct engagement, which can be beneficial as having confidence in the police will enable witnesses and victims of crime to come forward with any information they have about crime.
Social media also provides access to information about suspects as they might post photos and videos that millions can see. Some people regard their social media as personal diaries, and they might post confessionals after committing crimes to boast to other people. There have also been law enforcement agencies that have used social media-based counter-performances to pose as paedophiles as a way to attract and capture sex offenders.
Biometrics have been around for decades; however, recently, they became accessible to the general public as they enable people to unlock their smartphones using a fingerprint and an iris scan. Biometrics are now being used for crime prevention as that technology can create smaller identification devices that enable them to spot criminals who have records or outstanding warrants quicker, reducing the time they would usually spend, which is generally a few weeks or months. These identification devices are handheld, and the police can use them to collect digital fingerprints at crime scenes. They can also be used on witnesses to see if the perpetrator is still around the crime scene.
Law enforcement has started using big data, predictive analytics and machine learning to understand crime and find ways to combat it. The data harvested by the police from the Internet of Things (IoT) can be analysed to picture crime patterns and trends. Through applying this data, captured predictive analytics and machine learning can assist the police in spotting where a violent crime may occur next.
Technology continues to plays a significant role in improving law enforcement as it offers various strategies for crime prevention and policing. With more technological advancements on the horizon, technology will continue to improve crime and increase safety.