Can machines predict and prevent crimes?

Can machines predict and prevent crimes?

Perhaps better than humans!

Contrary to popular Hollywoodish imaginations, machines are yet to emerge as super-humans that can outsmart, or even match, human intelligence. But there are some arenas in which machine intelligence can support, or at times outwit, the limited neurological ability of human brain. Predictive policing is one domain where ‘machine learning’ can support humans, to make a positive sociological impact.

Predictive Policing refers to gathering loads of data and applying algorithms, to deduce, where and when crimes are most likely to occur. There are a few such softwares being used by police departments, across USA. The same model can be applied to Indian cities also, given sufficient digitization of crime data.

In particular, “PredPol” used by LAPD and Atlanta Police Department uses place, time and type of crime to create hot spot maps that help police to decide nightly patrol routes. Another ML tool, HunchLab, used by the NYPD & Miami Police Department focuses on social and behavioural analysis to generate predictions. According to LAPD, significant percentage drop in burglaries are reported, after deployment of machine learning tools. Even Sherlock Holmes would have been impressed by the logic, being used in such machine-assisted detective work!

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