How Artificial Intelligence is Helping Police Solve Crimes

Artificial intelligence (AI) is making its way into every facet of our lives. Now, we’re seeing this technology being used to help police solve crimes. Why? Because AI has the ability to make accurate predictions based on the data being collected. That’s why Netflix can recommend shows you might like with surprising accuracy.

AI has proven to be effective in home technologies, advertising, marketing and entertainment. But what happens when the stakes are higher?

Today, law enforcement and courts are using AI to predict and even prevent crimes. Of course, there are concerns. If things go wrong, the consequences are more than just an inconvenience; they affect lives.

So, how are police using AI to solve crimes?

To Detect Gunfire

When people hear gunfire, they don’t normally report it. When they do report it, the details are usually vague. When dispatchers receive multiple reports, the information is often contradictory. A company called ShotSpotter created a solution that uses sensors and machine learning algorithms to triangulate the location of a gunshot. The company claims that it’s service can pinpoint a gunshot within ten feet.

AI, in this case, can help police respond to the scene faster and potentially make an arrest before the perpetrator can get away.

Social Media Surveillance to Become Better Informed

Law enforcement can use AI to monitor discussions and crime reports on social media. They can also use AI to mine social media for drug-related hashtags and keywords. The information found online can be passed on to the police.

Law surrounding social media surveillance varies widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Civil rights organizations are also fighting to limit law enforcement’s ability to use social media for this purpose.

To Solve Gang-Related Crimes

AI can also be used to help predict, identify and solve gang-related crimes. Systems can currently identify gang-related crimes based on certain bits of information, like the primary weapon or weapons used, the location of the crime and the number of suspects. In places like Los Angeles and Chicago, where at least 50% of homicides are identified as gang-related, AI can be helpful in solving crimes.

While this can be helpful, there is a risk that innocent people may be identified as criminals. Steps must be taken to ensure that innocent people are not labeled as gang members and arrested for crimes they did not commit.

To Predict Crimes

Artificial intelligence can be used to predict where and when crimes will be committed. CrimeScan, for example, is a software program designed for predictive policing. PredPol was created by UCLA scientists in cooperation with the Los Angeles Police Department. The intention of the program is to see how scientific analysis of crime data can help identify patterns of criminal behaviors.

Today, the program is used by more than 60 police departments across the country. PredPol helps identify areas in neighborhoods where serious crimes are likely to occur during a particular period.

The company says its research has found that the software is twice as accurate as human analysts when predicting where crimes will occur. No independent studies have confirmed these findings.

AI will continue to help law enforcement now and in the future. But steps will be taken to address biases.