Technology and the Future of Getting Arrested
Crime is a significant problem in California and is punishable by imprisonment or fine. The process of spotting offenders, arresting them, and taking them to court with enough evidence has been very inefficient, leading to increased crime and congestion in prisons. The introduction of technology or smart policing in fighting crime has enhanced law and order and transformed the future of making arrests.
Most law enforcement officers react to crime since it is difficult for them to gather evidence, and arrest a suspect. They wait patiently until a crime occurs then make an arrest. However, with proper use of technology, smart policing can help predict where and when a crime is going to occur and then make an arrest before anything happens or in real-time. Murder, abuse or violence, and all other types of crimes will reduce significantly. However, with this increase in arrests could mean more work for a Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer.
The Future of Law Enforcement
We are living in a digital era where no one wants to do things the old school way. Businesses are using advanced technology to analyze data and patterns to predict the future market forces, and trends to come up with strategies that will help them through the changes that occur in the future and remain competitive. For example, if the rainy season is near, various retails stores stock umbrellas and bottled water in large numbers because they know that these items will be in high demand.
Police or law enforcement agencies should be using similar data analysis to enhance efficiency in the fight against crime. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is among the police departments that are using technology to fight criminal activities through predictive or smart policing. They are using three forms of technology to predict crime or unlawful activity.
The two technologies that are being used by the LAPD include The LASER program and PredPol. These two have proved to be very efficient, although they are still facing criticism.
How do they Use Technology to Predict Crime?
The LASER program was launched in 2011 and uses past criminal records to predict crime. Palantir is the firm that developed the data analysis program. If a person has violated a particular law in the last two years, the information of the offender is crunched and stored in rap sheets. The records are kept in categories such that if you are on parole or had been involved in a gang, you are awarded five points.
Every time an offender finds themselves on the wrong side of the law, the points increase. The higher your score, the more likely you are to fall under the list of the people under close watch by the police. The list is called The Chronic Offender Bulletin and contains the names of lawbreakers with high chances of committing another crime.
To reduce property crime, the LAPD has introduced the software called PredPol. The software records the previous property crimes that have been committed in an area, the time of occurrence and location. That way, they can predict when another crime will occur by analyzing the circumstances surrounding the previous crimes.
Technologies like microphone based gunshot sensors, marijuana Breathalyzers, and intelligence surveillance cameras are being used, while others are undergoing development all in a bid to help fight violations of the law. Some police departments are even able to monitor social media platforms which most criminals use nowadays to communicate. However, technologies like these are getting much backlash from civil rights groups and the community in general because of violating privacy.
The Challenges Facing New Technology in Predicting Crime
The Los Angeles Police Department is known for using new technologies in fighting crime but has recently faced much backlash from the community because of inconsistency, lack of oversight, and transparency. The LASER program has been highly criticized after an audit revealed that it targets people and areas for more policing. The department gets a few resources for the program hence questioning the value it delivers.
LASER uses an algorithm to find chronic offenders by giving points to people on probation or those with a history of violence or criminal gang activity. However, one in every five offenders on the watch list has no points which show inconsistency. Civil rights groups asked the program to be suspended because of this inconsistency.
On the other hand, PredPol is facing criticism because people living in areas that are at a high risk of experiencing crime feel targeted. Once the software makes a prediction, many officers are deployed to patrol the area. The sirens and a high number of police officers might deter people from committing a crime, but those living in the city might feel target.
In a study carried out in the year 2014, 38% of police departments said they are using the new technology to fight crime while the remaining 70% said that plans were underway to implement the latest technologies. It is an indicator that the Los Angeles Police Department is not making use of the tech, although they are the leaders.
Benefits of Predictive Policing
Many people wonder how it looks like to be in the field with these programs. Often, the technology anticipates where the crime is likely to occur, inform the relevant authorities, and help law enforcement agencies to make a decision. The programs, for instance, have been used to reduce gunfire crime and connect Burglaries and code violations.
For instance, in Richmond, VA, gunfire incidents have been very prevalent on the eve of every New Year. The law enforcers began gathering data about these gunfire incidences for years, and after the analysis of the data, they were able to predict the type, time, and location of future occurrences. On New Year’s Eve 2013, the data gathered in the past was used to place police officers where the crime was likely to happen for rapid response.
The outcome was excellent because gunfire incidences were reduced by 47% that night, and the number of weapons seized that day increased to 246%. In Arlington, Texas, the software was used to predict burglaries.
Chief Theron Bowman says that officers in Arlington, TX, found that for every increase in physical decay, there was an increase in residential burglaries by six. It means that areas with much physical deterioration were hotspots for residential burglaries. The use of technology to identify neighborhoods with these characteristics have enabled police to be deployed in these areas, thus allowing to reduce the number of these crimes.
Seeking Accountability and Transparency in These Programs
All the audits that have been conducted about these new crime-fighting technologies have shown that the significant challenges facing the programs are lack of community involvement, accountability, and transparency. To provide accountability and transparency, the Chicago Police Department uses the same technology as Los Angeles has to sort out an alternative audit.
In the year 2017, the Police Department of Chicago partnered with the University of Chicago to set up offices for law enforcement officers in locations where there were many cases of gun violence. These offices rely on automated gunshot detection technology, which sends an alert to responding officers even before the 911 call. Apart from this, they make use of The HunchLab software and data analysis to predict crime.
The recent research by The University of Chicago shows that after setting up these offices, incidences of shootings have reduced significantly compared to those areas that lack these offices. Civil rights issues have been minimal in the use of The HunchLab tech because of the audit done by the university and transparency in the program.
Without the trust of the community, predictive policing will face many challenges. According to an LAPD officer, police must find probable cause before making an arrest. No one should be arrested on the probability that they are likely to commit a crime.
Much training should also be done on officers who will be using the system to ensure that they understand what is required of them and how they should make use of the predicting tools. Policies regarding these programs should also be refined frequently, especially on the issue of sharing information with other agencies.
What Crimes Lead to Arrest?
People are arrested because of various offenses. In 2016, 32% of felony arrests were due to violent crimes like robbery and assault, 21% for property crimes like burglary, and 11% for drug offenses. Those arrested due to possession of prohibited weapons were 6%, and those arrested for parole violations were 5%.
For misdemeanor arrests, 25% of the arrests were DUI offenses, 18% drug offenses, and 18% for failure to appear in court. 8% of misdemeanors arrests were due to assault and battery and 7% property offenses. The seizures in California have reduced by 58% since 1998, with three-quarters of the arrests rate dropping due to the decline in misdemeanor arrests.
The Future of Getting Arrested
Every arrest must have a strong basis or foundation. The moment you are handcuffed, the ideas of justice, liberty, and security begin to arise, but this is going to change with the introduction of technology like the smart policing and surveillance programs. Not all these technologies will be accepted because some of the laws in the current digital era are easily violated.
The new technology has made it very easy for police to find suspects when committing a crime in real-time. Future arrests are going to be very easy and safe for police this way since analysts are monitoring the system or program around the clock and can direct the officers close to the area where the criminals are located. Much information is gathered through CCTV surveillance, which will make it easy to find and arrest suspects.
After the arrests, facial recognition technology will be used to get personal details of the suspect immediately, making it easy to identify the suspect and all other relevant information that might help in the case. The FBI, for instance, has launched a database of biometric data that will contain the images, irises, fingerprints, scars, tattoos DNA, and voice samples. It will be beneficial in the future, but it might end up being filled with information about people who have never been convicted.
The way police officers carry themselves is also going to change significantly. It will be good news for suspects once they have been arrested since there are body-mounted cameras that monitor the way the officers interact with the public. This means there will be reduced cases of harassment of suspects by police officers.
A professor with The Boise State University says that interrogation in the future is going to change from coercive to less coercive because the interrogating agencies will adopt new interrogation techniques and drop the traditional ones. The interrogators will not have to lie to suspects or use threats to try and get evidence. Instead, they will use technology to enable them to look for signs when the suspect is speaking the truth or when they are lying.
Again, due to the elimination of old school techniques that relied on manipulation, threats, and lies, suspects will not be deceived to confessing a crime that they have not committed. It will help reduce the number of people who are wrongfully convicted. A significant number of people who have been arrested and found guilty are innocent. These innocent people will not go behind bars if police use newer techniques and respond to emerging evidence.
In conclusion, California is among the states with the most overcrowded prisons. However, over the years, the number of arrests has reduced hence helping in decongestion. One of the things that have dramatically brought efficiency in law enforcement is adopting new technology in fighting crime because it has changed the way police identify crime in real-time and make evidence-based arrests that ensure only the guilty are convicted. If you are facing a criminal charge and need more information on how evidence can be used against you, contact a Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer for more details.
Technology and the Future of Getting Arrested