When crooks are plotting, so are vigilant police districts. Officers are increasingly turning to software and predictive analytics to anticipate when and where misdeeds are likely to occur. But big data is only one component in a proliferating arsenal of high-tech policing tools. As organizations around the country pushed forward faster, savvier law enforcement, they’re seeming more and more like the precrime component in Minority Report.

Drone Response

The Louisville, Kentucky, police district lately unveiled a proposal to send self-guided drones to investigate alerts from gunshot-detecting sensors, giving video footage back to HQ. But privacy groups are perturbed by monotone monitoring–already utilized elsewhere in investigations and surveillance. In May, the International Association of Chiefs of Police technology conference included a meeting on “developing public approbation” for drones.

Telltale Tats

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology are developing tattoo identification technology to identify persons of interest–and those boasting similar ink. Proponents say the FBI-supported program automates the process of analyzing tattoos for potential gang affiliations; privacy advocates argue it infringes on First Amendment rights.

Bodycam Backup

Policing-tech giant Axon( manufacturer of Tasers) made an offer to US law enforcement agencies last spring: 1 year of free access to the company’s torso cameras and storage software. Axon then has access to the resulting data and information, which it could use to develop AI capabilities, such as automatically analyzing video to render incident reports.

Red-Light Recorders

Cameras at intersections nationwide already upload images of vehicles and license plates to databases, tolerating detectives to monitor the movements of suspects and link gondolas near felony scenes. ICE lately teamed up with a company called Vigilant Solutions, gaining access to its directory of more than 2 billion vehicles.

Phone Sleuth

New York is the first regime analyse the “textalyzer, ” a invention that reveals whether telephone apps were being used and if themes were cast or received at the time of writing of a automobile crash. The forensics firm behind the tech pronounces it will tailor the software to local laws.

Data Cruncher

Software by Palantir can synthesize disparate data sets–social media feeds, federal felony databases, foreclosure lists–to create detailed charts of parties designed to allow faster crime combat-ready. The detection of a years-long contract with the New Orleans PD in February revealed that Palantir’s software has already been used to predict likely offenders.

This article appears in the June issue. Subscribe now.

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