While traditional methods of law enforcement and community vigilance remain crucial, the integration of technology into crime prevention strategies has revolutionized safety and crime detection. Law enforcement agencies are beginning to use crime prevention approaches to keep their communities safe.
Two types of technological innovations have benefited the criminal justice system: hard technology and soft technology. Hard technology includes innovations in materials, devices, and equipment that either prevent crime or are used to commit crime. Soft technology includes software programs, classification systems, crime analysis techniques, and data sharing/system integration techniques.
Technology has emerged as a powerful ally in the fight against crime for the following reasons:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning- Large volumes of training data sets are used to train computer systems to be able to perform tasks that require human intelligence. Algorithms decode patterns and crime trends, enabling law enforcement to anticipate and preempt criminal activities with precision. AI technology can rapidly analyze massive volumes of digital data, such as files, emails, and communications. This allows investigators to sort through large datasets efficiently and pinpoint critical evidence.
- Predictive Policing and Data Analysis- Analytic techniques in predictive policing help identify potential offenders and victims. By conducting data analysis, law enforcement can identify people and locations with an increased crime risk. An example of crime prediction techniques using technology is sex offender management software. Probation and parole officers benefit from monitoring an offender’s mobile device with the software to quickly intervene if illicit materials are found and save a future victim.
Conducting accurate and efficient crime analytics also helps law enforcement to assess how to best allocate their resources and personnel. Part of crime prevention is ensuring that personnel are always where they're most needed. Heuristic techniques and cutting-edge mathematical models conducted with AI produce the geospatial data needed to accomplish this.
- Social Media Forensics- Digital forensic software has the ability to obtain and monitor individual communications that occur over the Internet, web-based social media sites, and mobile devices. It has assisted law enforcement in investigating crimes such as financial crimes, drug crimes, internet-related human trafficking, and sex crimes.
Subscriber records and stored communication such as emails, instant messages, browsing history, search records, and data in the cloud are often requested as evidence in cases. Between July and December 2022, Facebook received 239,000 law enforcement agency requests for user information.
- Facial Recognition- In an interview with BBC, Assistant Chief of Miami Police Armando Aguilar said his team used facial recognition about 450 times a year and that it had helped solve several murders. Facial recognition algorithms can analyze digital images or videos to detect and identify individuals' faces. It helps to identify victims or suspects. Analysis may also involve comparing faces captured in surveillance footage or images obtained from social media profiles with known databases of individuals to establish their identity.
The incorporation of technology has fundamentally transformed how law enforcement combats criminal activities. Artificial intelligence, predictive policing, social media forensics, and facial recognition are arming law enforcement with the tools they need to continue fighting crime in a digital era. The fusion of hard and soft technologies has not only fortified preventative measures but has also empowered agencies to better understand, anticipate, and respond to emerging threats.
The Digital Evidence Investigator PRO (DEI PRO) seamlessly integrates hard and soft technologies by providing investigators with a portable tool packed with automated digital forensics software. DEI PRO Field software is the #1 automated digital forensic tool for iOS, Android, Mac, Linux, and Windows. The DEI PRO Field Tablet’s ease of use, speed, and scalability set a new benchmark.