New Technologies Help Cops Solve Crimes
Posted Friday, Apr 25, 2014 by
You don’t have to watch the latest sci-fi police drama to see cops using advanced technology to catch criminals. Big city police forces are already using a variety of computer-based weapons to identify and capture bad guys. And a lot of these technologies looks like something straight out of a Hollywood movie.
Here are just some of the crime-fighting technologies now finding its way into the mean streets of our larger cities.
Throwable Robot Cameras
These are small, lightweight cameras fitting inside motorized tubes that operators steer via remote control. When police want to look into a room, in a basement or up a staircase without exposing themselves to possible hostile fire, they just toss the camera into the suspect area and drive it around like a little RC model car, viewing the results on a handheld monitor.
The military and Amazon.com aren’t the only ones using these little remote-controlled flying platforms. Several major police forces now use drones to patrol high crime areas, rush to the scenes of accidents, chase suspect vehicles, and discreetly get into tight spaces without warning suspects of their approach. Unlike their counterparts in Iraq and Afghanistan, police drones have yet to be used as flying weapons platforms. But just give it time.
Gunshot Detection Systems (GDS)
In neighborhoods infamous for gang violence, police are installing computerized noise sensors that automatically triangulate the source of gunshots when they occur. These systems allow police to respond immediately when gunshots are fired, knowing exactly where and when the shots were fired.
Many police departments are using tablet computers to record witness statements, file reports, photograph evidence, view area maps, and even sketch crime scenes. In fact, tablet computers now allow police to do just about anything they can do at their desks, plus a lot more. (When things are slow, the cops can even use the tablet to play Solitaire.)
GPS Vehicle Pursuit Darts
High-speed chases may make for great television, but they pose dangers to motorists and pedestrians on the ground. In high traffic areas, police sometimes prefer to track suspect vehicles using helicopters, but even these can prove problematic when suspects drive into tunnels or onto streets sheltered by thick foliage. For some police departments, the solution is a high-tech dart that emits a GPS signal. During a chase, a police car will approach the suspect vehicle from behind and fire the dart via a grill-mounted compressed air gun. The dart affixes itself to the vehicle’s trunk or fender. The police can then back off and safely track the suspect by the signal the dart broadcasts.
Panoramic HD Cameras
A new generation of highly sensitive computerized cameras allows forensics specialist to record an entire crime scene from side to side and top to bottom, creating a data-rich file that specialists can later review in depth back at the police lab. Using special electronic filters and data-mining software, investigators can use these HD files to reveal hidden clues and compare patterns to previous crimes in hopes of identifying — and ultimately capturing — suspects.
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