In today’s world of extensive crime, police officers feel like they’re playing a game of Whac-A-Mole. They work countless hours to decrease illegal activities in one are only for it to pop up somewhere else. The increasing crime rates not only hinder one’s mental health but also have an unfortunate consequence on the growth of a nation, especially in developing countries like India. According to the National Judicial Data reports 12 out of 100 people worldwide are affected by crime-related activities. In India, 3.5 crore cases are still pending as of 2020, and daily on an average 289 kidnappings, 91 rapes and 80 murders are reported. Thus, in the wake of increasing crime rate law enforcement agencies are increasingly turning to data analytics and adopting various software tools with predictive analytics based on algorithms.
Crime analytics refers to the use of various methods and applications of statistical tools and techniques to analyze crime data to solve crimes at a faster rate. This can save costs, time and effort in crime investigation and prevention. ‘Predictive policing’ is the art of predicting crime before it even takes place. It helps police officers identify different crime hotspots by collecting data from various sources like public records and social media, then algorithms are used to determine the probability of the crime by identifying the geographical location, approximate time and demographics. The huge amount of data generated makes it more difficult for culprits to sift through.
The International Association of Crime Analysts (IACA) recognizes four categories of crime analysis:
- Crime Intelligence Analysis- It is based on the philosophy that sets out how we can approach the investigation of crime and criminals. In this crime intelligence analysis data about people involved in crime, particularly repeat offenders, victims, criminal organizations and networks.
- Tactical Crime Analysis- A tactical crime analyst provides information to assist operations personnel in the identification of specific crime problems and the arrest of criminal offenders. The crime analysis data is used to promote quick response to field situations.
- Strategic Crime Analysis- It furnishes information relating to long term problems. A strategic crime analyst provides data relative to long term increases or decreases in crime such as crime trend data.
- Administrative Crime Analysis- The analysis of data is focused on the provision of economic, geographic, or social information to administrators.
Functions of Crime Analysis
Crime analysis information can also be used to assist the agency’s ability to catch culprits more efficiently by performing various functions such as:
- Identification of evolving or existent crime patterns
- Forecasting future crime occurrences
- Initiation of target profile analysis
- Provision of investigative leads
- Provision of support data to crime prevention programs
- Assisting in case clearance processes
Phases of crime analytics
There are three different phases-
- Pre-crime analysis- The first step involves predictive analytics to identify various crime hotspots. This is done by collecting data from various sources like social media on human behavior in combination with demographic information. Then a ‘heat list’ is prepared.
- Run time analysis- Statistical Analysis is run on data to get Crime Index numbers.
- Post crime analysis- this involves analyzing trends and patterns for various types of crime in different areas to provide support. It identifies offenders and modus operandi information, it also establishes links between suspects and their involvement in criminal activities.
Use of Predictive Analytics by Indian Police
The Indian Police is now taking an increasing interest in crime analytics using big data i.e. storing and analyzing huge volumes and a variety of data in real-time. To identify crime hotspots the police force uses predictive analytics to develop models using machine learning algorithms and behavioral science. The police force has access to mature big data storage platforms such as Hadoop and NoSQL.
Delhi Police has partnered with ISRO to develop an analytical system called Crime Mapping, Analytics and Predictive System (CMAPS), this helps to ensure internal security, controlling crime and maintaining law and order through analysis of data and patterns. According to Delhi Police official- each officer would be equipped with a Personal Digital Assistant device that is connected to a central system that will contain records of more than 2 lakh criminals. Bangalore Police has partnered with IBM to train officers on the better usage of data analytics software. Jharkhand Police with the help of IIM Ranchi is implementing an analytical system to evaluate criminal records, date and time of crime occurrences and predict crime prone zones.
National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) uses geographic information based analytical systems to predict and curb crime rates in the country. They collect a huge amount of data and acts as clearinghouse information on national and international criminals.
Crime Analytics is increasingly being used by law enforcement agencies to predict and prevent crimes. They use various big data software, develop algorithms using machine learning and behavioral science to recognize crime trends and hotspots. Crime analytics also helps security departments of any country to take the right actions before the crime happens.