Man getting hand cuffed

Is artificial intelligence key in tackling crime?

  • On : March 20, 2019

We’ve seen artificial intelligence be implemented in many different fields such as smart cars, smartphones, social media and now we’re witnessing it in crime prevention. Solving murders and catching sex offenders through the use of artificial intelligence seems like something right out of the popular Netflix show ‘Black Mirror’ but now it is becoming a reality in many police departments around the world, particularly in the United Kingdom where face recognition and behavioural software are able to prevent potential crimes being committed in a type of policing called predictive policing.

As mentioned previously, predictive policing uses facial recognition, behavioural software, crime logs and search records on forecasting when, where and who will commit the crime. This has been a very popular method of tackling knife crime in the UK which has been quite rampant in the past few years as they are now facing the highest level of knife crime since 2010 as we speak. When the information is obtained and a threat is looming, authorities hold off from arresting anyone but rather get social workers involved to do some pre-emptive counselling to keep potential offenders at bay or to protect any potential victims. Not only has predictive policing been implemented in the UK but it has also been used on a lower scaler across the pond in the United States as US law enforcers in California have been utilising the AI based ‘PredPol’ system for the past 9 years that is used to predict potential crime spots in suburban areas instead of predicting the actions of specific individuals. Researchers have claimed ‘PredPol’ has proven to be twice as accurate as human analysts in identifying future crime scenes and is a less risky solution to identifying potential criminals and apprehending them.

Not only is AI being used to identify potential criminals, but it is also contrastingly being used to pass judgments on criminals as AI is able set bail, determine sentences, and even be able to make a decision on whether an individual is guilty or not guilty. This transition of AI into courts seems like a promising avenue in the long term as it could prove beneficial as AI will continue to learn and evolve and be able to make better judgements as time progresses.

For the time being though, there is immense potential of artificial intelligence being a vital tool in tackling crime on a mainstream basis but further trialling of it must be made on some aspects like identifying future criminals. There could hypothetically be the off chance that the wrong suspects could be identified so once these concerns have been rectified and the reliability of AI in tackling crime is guaranteed, it should definitely be given the green light on a global basis.