Security Never Sleeps: Robotics in Law Enforcement
As criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated, law enforcement agencies are trying to keep up. Fortunately, developers are responding to these needs by inventing cutting edge software and tools that are designed to combat crime. By the year 2022, robotics in law enforcement is expected to be a $5.7 billion industry. This statistic is on trend with a datasheet from the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College, which found that police agencies recently acquired a record number of robotics available from the U.S. military.
Technology plays an important role in the criminal justice system and can do everything from:
- Connecting a person’s DNA or fingerprints to a crime scene
- Using global positioning software to show a suspect was near a crime scene at the time of the crime
- Sensing when a trespasser is on property
- Monitoring criminal activity
- Alerting law enforcement more quickly or automatically when a crime occurs
- Notifying residents of a missing child or other crime in the vicinity
- Allowing citizens to access police information
You don’t have to look to Robocop™ to find real-life examples of robots saving lives. Robots are already being used for this purpose. They are used to detect whether a bomb is in the area so that human lives can be saved. They are also used to dispose of bombs. These robots can also be used to train bomb disposers of risks without actually subjecting them to the risks.
Police search and rescue robots may go into dangerous areas such as damaged buildings to help locate storm victims or others. Additionally, these robots may be able to take a wounded police officer out of a dangerous situation. By avoiding situations that may involve shootouts and sending in these machines instead, countless officers may be able to be saved.
Because robots have many different capabilities, their best use may be to gather and relay information to law enforcement agencies. These robotic devices are often equipped with thermal imaging software, various sensors, and multiple capabilities that allow them to pick up, carry, and move various items. This helps them to save victims and law enforcement agents.
Interconnected technology allows law enforcement to more promptly respond to crime. For example, traffic lights can be set to accommodate officers who are rushing to respond to violent crimes. Nearby police agencies or vehicles may be able to locate a suspect or vehicle more quickly by the prompt sharing of information. Real-time information monitoring further allows law enforcement officers to integrate big data from bodycams, officers’ health readings, public records, social media content, facial recognition software, and more.
Not only IoT but also digital tools like online public records databases giving investigators and other law enforcement workers to perform their job duties more efficiently. Additionally, greater data will be able to be extracted from the actions of law enforcement officers, such as how and why police shootings occur.
AI and crime solutions also converge with the advent of rapid identification systems, which allow police officers to have access to big data, public records, and other records that quickly corral a suspect’s criminal history.
The Next Generation Identification system of the FBI uses a variety of biometrics, including fingerprints, iris recognition, and facial recognition to quickly connect suspects with their criminal history. This system seeks to become the most comprehensive database of its kind.
By being able to more quickly identify suspects and their possible connection to a crime, law enforcement may be able to prevent future crimes from occurring and more quickly apprehend suspects. Additionally, AI is also good at predicting future behavior, so there may be additional applications of AI when sentencing a defendant or preparing reports from a probation office
Another technological advancement that is having a significant impact on public safety is the use of drones. Many law enforcement agencies, emergency management agencies, and statewide agencies have invested in drones and drone software. These drones may be used in a variety of ways, including:
- Monitor events
- Conduct domestic surveillance
- Deliver needed supplies to law enforcement officers or rescue victims
- Record information and send it back to police stations
- Surveil prison yards for contraband or escape attempts
- Use sensors and cameras to detect and record unusual behavior
- Patrol borders between states and countries
- Fire upon command
- Share communication between drones
- Provide 3D mapping assistance at accident scenes
- Hover on pre-set routes
- Photograph aerial pictures
Drones, robots, and other AI technology has the potential to help prevent and respond to crime in a more efficient manner. These types of technology can save lives by removing a human from the situation and replacing it with a machine. However, law enforcement agencies and the public must also consider the potential privacy and constitutional concerns that these devices may raise.
Emily Andrews is the marketing communications specialist at RecordsFinder, an online public records search company. Communications specialist by day and community volunteer at night, she believes in compassion and defending the defenseless.
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