How Big Data is Changing the Role of Policing?
Technology has revolutionized law enforcement drastically over the years. The use of fingerprints, DNA, CCTV, and other forms of technology have also played a major role in Policing. Soon, it is predicted that Big Data will soon be bringing about a larger impact on law enforcement.
Big data is frequently used to monitor forensic data to solve specific crimes. However, experts have started using predictive analytics algorithms now to identify broader trends. (Here, Development and Data, 2020)
Predicative analytics algorithms are useful in identifying suspects who might be past offenders. It is also used to strengthen compelling cases to get emergency resources to fight against recent crime waves. This has paved way to the development of predictive hotspot mapping, a sophisticated crime mapping tool. This tool uses statistical models and past crime rates to predict future crime rates. The sources show that in the UK, these maps can predict where crime will occur 10 times better than the police, (Here, Development and Data, 2020)but there is a limitation to this tool. It relies entirely on the data collected from past crime and completely ignores the environmental factors.
Next, Predictability of repeat offenders. With AI empowered risk assessment tools, the task of manually identifying repeat offenders can be automated. Predictive algorithms are used here to identify the risk of a person being an offender. The information is then used to predict the person as high, medium, or low risk. The accuracy of such systems, such as the Harm Assessment, Risk Tool, has shown to be highly accurate for low-risk individuals with a 98% accuracy rate (Here, Development and Data, 2020). However, there is an also a limitation of this tool where it leads to racial discrimination.
Investigations have found that only 20% of individuals identified as likely to commit a crime did so.
Big Data is the new weapon to fight against crime. Maintaining law and order is one of the major concerns in the recent years. Despite having limitations of these tools, big data is still valuable in aiding law enforcement officials in policing. These tools are also constantly improved and tested out. In the future, big data is believed to reduce the major crime epidemics that we face.