Forget about magnifying glasses, fingerprinting and burglar alarms. Today's security, law enforcement and Homeland Security experts have a whole new set of high-tech crime-fighting tools to deal with criminals and terrorists.
Here are 10 cutting-edge technologies being used to fight crime in the 21st century:
1. Automated License Plate Recognition
Today, stealing a car is no joyride. Many cities now have systems that spot and track stolen cars based on their license plate numbers. The cameras used for such systems can be in fixed positions around a city and/or on roving police cars. Images are fed continuously to a central computer that compares the numbers against a stolen-vehicle database. If your car's plate number matches one reported stolen, expect to see flashing lights in your rearview mirror real, real soon.
2. Vehicle Slowdown Systems
So you've been spotted at the wheel of your stolen car. Your only option is to hit the gas and try to outrun the cops, right? Not if you foolishly stole a car equipped with OnStar. The GPS-based communication and navigation service can remotely inhibit the fuel systems of stolen cars so they can't travel more than 5 mph. That could put quite a crimp in your getaway plans.
3. Starchase GPS Launcher
The car you stole doesn't have OnStar, you lucky dawg! You're home free! Not if the cruiser behind you is equipped with the Starchase GPS Launcher system. This device fires a "sticky" GPS transponder designed to latch onto the outside of a stolen vehicle and let authorities track it even if they lose visual contact. If you suspect your stolen car's been hit with a Starchase GPS, you can always pull off the road and try to unstick it – but that kind of defeats the purpose of a high-speed chase, doesn't it?
4. Mass Surveillance
Walk down the streets of any major city and chances are you're on camera. Cities large and small are installing integrated video monitoring systems to help fight crime and discourage terrorism. The United Kingdom (U.K.) is generally acknowledged to be the most monitored country in the Western world.
5. Surveillance Drones
In cities where wall-to-wall cameras aren't enough, law enforcement is taking to the skies with remotely piloted surveillance drones similar to those used by our armed forces in the Middle East. Drones can vary in size from airplane-sized Predators to minihelicopters the size of toys. Luckily, law enforcement drones don't carry weapons. Yet.
6. Shot Spotting
A number of communities are installing "shot spotting" technology in high-crime neighborhoods. Sound monitors detect and recognize the sounds of gunshots. A computer instantly triangulates the source of the sound and sends GPS coordinates to the local police. In Nassau County, Long Island, N.Y., shot spotting has reportedly reduced gun-related crime by 32 percent.
7. 3-D Crime Scene Simulation
One problem with traditional crime-scene investigation is that being at the scene of the crime can easily contaminate the scene. Some police departments are getting around this by using sophisticated 3-D programs that reconstruct a crime scene inside a computer. These simulations let investigators examine scenes from all angles, distances and perspectives. Not only does this technology help prevent accidental contamination, it also gives investigators literally a new perspective that can lead to a better understanding of how particular crimes have been committed.
8. Biometric Facial Recognition
Many criminals are repeat offenders. Law enforcement and Homeland Security officials like to know when such individuals appear in sensitive locations such as airports and banks. Now they can say thanks to biometric facial recognition (BFR) systems. Based on photos taken by local surveillance cameras, BFR software compares dozens of points on a suspect's face against the information in its database. These systems can pick a known criminal or terrorist out of a moving crowd literally within seconds. Sunglasses or phony mustaches don't help.
9. Eyeball R1
When entering a potentially hostile environment, intelligence is everything. The Remington Eyeball R1 is a remote camera that allows law enforcement to get a 360-degree view of a neighborhood, building or room before sending in live officers. The system was invented by the Israeli military to use in areas where terrorists could be hiding just beyond a soldier's line of sight.
10. Heartbeat Detector
New heartbeat-detecting technology helps tactical officers determine the number of suspects hiding behind closed doors, or immigration officers locate illegal aliens hiding inside vehicles, containers, etc. Its technology is so sensitive it can reportedly detect the heartbeat of a mouse!
Prepare for a Career in Crime Fighting with a Degree from Everest University Online
Interested in a career in crime prevention, security or Homeland Security? You can start on your road to career success with a degree from Everest University Online, a division of Everest University.
Everest University Online offers a variety of degree programs in this field, including associate and bachelor's degrees in Criminal Justice, Criminal Investigations and Homeland Security. You can earn your degree at home on your own schedule, taking courses during evenings, on weekends or whenever your schedule allows. Upon graduation, you can get support from Everest's Career Services professionals, who can help you use your new degree and skill set to arrange interviews with employers in both the public and private sectors.
For more information on Everest University Online degree programs, including schedules, tuition and financial aid options, contact Everest University Online today.
Financial aid is available for those who qualify.