The Tech That Helps Police Catch Criminals
Politics in this country have become quite divisive, and one of the recent battlegrounds hovers around police safety. Today, the discussion is very different, but it wasn’t so long ago that police were concerned that Waze presented a threat.
The app marked police location, and users and cops alike have mixed feelings. Changes to how cops layout speed traps and how they use their own technologies have largely leveled the playing field. This technological challenge, coupled with political realities, can illustrate how difficult it is to change how police utilize and interact with technology.
Yet law enforcement does deploy technology of its own to catch criminals and make streets safer every day. Here are some of the examples of how the police of the future-present operate.
How police investigate a crime has changed dramatically, thanks to the way we store information. Criminals often use the internet to research the means to commit their crimes, and that leaves a trail behind. Utilizing a third party data recovery company, police can often extract this data into files investigators can work with and present to prosecutors.
Crime scene imaging is another area seeing explosive growth. Police can reconstruct the elements of a crime scene with 3D scanning technology. Sketches and photographs can become truly self-contained experiences that investigators can manipulate to try and discover the moments leading up to the crime.
Weaponry and Enforcement Tech
Another debate raging in the US is how police are able to utilize and apply lethal force. A new alternative to weapons (literally called “The Alternative”) allows police to draw and fire a gun in a situation where they feel threatened and strike a suspect with a non-lethal round.
The goal is to incapacitate, not kill. Police put themselves in the way of harm and have a right to defense. However, not every stop should hold such high stakes. With greater alternatives to take a suspect down without firing a lethal shot, police can also rebuild trust with the community.
Police are also using better analytics about criminals, and about the areas where they enforce the law, to avoid lethal conflict. Radar can play an important role in this respect, where police can “see through” walls to determine where criminals may be in a breach situation. This can reduce the occurrence of a hostage or domestic violence situations becoming lethal conflicts.
Another important way police are utilizing new technology is to predict where crime may take place. In the same vein that something like Google “understands” what your question is really asking, police are now utilizing software that crunches data to form a history or profile of crime in the area.
Gathering data about criminals is a simple matter of monitoring web traffic and combining that data with what’s going on in the real world. With better database applications, police have the right data to work with and the tools to finally pull meaningful data from those sets.
These same systems lay the groundwork for cases built against criminals, making sure that evidence is airtight.
Smarter investigation techniques and better data collection practices help a great deal in solving crimes, but they also open the door for amateur sleuthing. Today’s journalist or private-eye now has a wealth of data online to sift through for establishing patterns or assembling reports.
The challenge continues to be balancing those powerful investigative practices with the civil liberties that ensure citizens are protected.