Police in the UK’s capital have tested a new software application, which can help the Police identify gang members that are most likely to commit crimes in the future. The trial run lasted for a period of 20 weeks and is the first of its kind in Britain. The system used numerous indicators, like social media posts, five years’ worth of historical data to attempt to identify the bands of individuals in gangs who posed the greatest threat. The software would use up to the minute data, if it is to be rolled out across the Police force.
Accenture, the company that developed the program, said the idea is to more effectively target the Police’s resources rather than to try and prevent theoretical future crime.
Muz Janoowalla, head of public safety analytics at the firm, informed the BBC, “You’ve got limited police resources and you need to target them efficiently…What this does is tell you who are the highest risk individuals that you should target your limited resources against…For example, if an individual had posted inflammatory material on the Internet… it would be recorded in the intelligence system,” he added. “What we were able to do was mine both the intelligence and the known criminal history of individuals to come up with a risk assessment model.”
The software took data from 32 different London boroughs and the system then focused on four years’ worth of records and the system’s predictions were then compared with the actual crime statistics for the fifth year to ascertain the accuracy.
The London Police force says rather than singling out individuals, the software will highlight groups of known criminals. Daniel Nesbitt, research director at Big Brother Watch said, “The police need to be very careful about how they use this kind of technology…The Metropolitan Police must ensure that they are fully transparent about how they intend implement this technology and what type of information will be used in the process.”
[Image via urbantimes]