Law Enforcement & IoT: Part I – Smarter Sensing and Facial Recognition

January 10, 2020

IIoT is providing law enforcement with new tools to fight crime, increasing efficiency and community safety.

Sensors & Facial Recognition

Microphones placed around a city can catch the sound of gunfire, and with IoT-connected devices, the location of the shots can be calculated, the number of shots recorded, and an alert sent to police. Without IIoT, gunfire reported to 911 is drastically low. With IIoT, many more incidents can be investigated, improving efforts by law enforcement to reduce local gun violence.

Sensors placed at traffic lights record data that can help police track stolen vehicles, identify vehicles fitting a witness’s description, find flagged license plate numbers, record accident data and more. Similar data-gathering technology is being attached to police vehicles.

In an IoT-enabled smart city, augmented reality can provide police officers with a virtual map of the city, improving accuracy in traffic chases and emergency response. Such tools can also identify potential hazards in an area or pull up important documents such as local warrants or city ordinances.

In China, police are using smart glasses to identify suspects in crowded areas. The glasses use facial recognition and connect to the police database to find matches. This can allow the detection of criminals attempting to hide in a sea of people, though facial recognition carries some ethical concerns.

Dubai welcomed the world’s first Robocop onto its team in 2017. The robot patrols public areas and uses facial recognition to identify suspects and alert its human counter parts. India also added a robot to its police force, which mans the front desk and greets visitors.

Improving Evidence Gathering Measures

At crime scenes, IoT can help gather evidence. Smart appliances within homes can contain important forensic evidence that can confirm alibis and witness statements. For example, a smart lock on a front door may have video of who visited a home and when. A smart refrigerator might record when the homeowner accessed it, providing valuable time stamps about a suspect or victim. Police are currently developing a Digital Forensics Kit that would enable them to download data rather than confiscate digital appliances.

Drones can capture images and video for the reconstruction of traffic accidents. Officers often must close a road to take images, and with a drone the road can be reopened faster. Measurements taken by drones are also more accurate than when done by hand. In the future, this same “speed of image” might be employed at crime scenes, allowing officers to analyze data faster.