Big Data is changing a lot of things, including the way in which the world fights crime. As predictive policing gains momentum across the globe, we caught up with Pankaj Kapoor, President ACSG Corporate, to discuss Big Data Analytics and the role it plays in controlling, monitoring and fighting crime in India.
Q: How do you think ‘Big Data Analytics’ can assist in battling crime?
A: Big Data… the name itself is quite explanatory. It means extremely large data sets ─ structured and non-structured ─ that may be analyzed computationally to reveal, predict, interpret inference patterns, trends and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions.
Crime has patterns, just like everything else. The automation and digitization of FIRs, investigation reports, case files, dossiers, etc., are now generating data that was never available to law enforcement agencies in India. Today, crime agencies can foresee and prevent large number of criminal activities, thanks to analytics tools that can predict incidents.
For example, one of the state police departments we’re working with is using ACSG technology to predict, aggregate and analyze public safety data streams in real time. The department is analyzing data from live camera feeds, emergency calls, police reports and other sources by applying “Smart Facial Recognition & Voice Analytics”. This data is then correlated to the Dossier Systems with the use of “Text Analytics”.
Q: Has Big Data Analytics been implemented anywhere else?
A: Globally, the field of data analytics is gaining momentum. Police departments from various countries are adopting similar technologies. In India, we have successfully deployed various big data analytics tools for five law enforcement agencies, and are in advanced talks with, at least, seven more agencies. The Delhi Police, along with the ISRO, is already developing predictive policing mechanisms that will help in crime fighting.
Q: What are the challenges of using this technology in India?
A: Constant training, upgraded technical logistics and budgeting are the key challenges. Problems are faced more at the user level than at the technological level. Users have to imagine what they are looking for from the data. It can let you know about correlation of time, event, entities, profiles, etc.
Using data mining with the right keywords and search criteria still remains a major challenge for our law enforcement agencies. However, we are currently in the process of implementing our latest Artificial Intelligence ‘Machine Learning Technology’ (MLT), which will facilitate our technology and associated algorithms to learn from Smart Archiving, and a Query Responders System.
Q: Which are the other areas you believe will benefit from Big Data Analytics?
A: Be it oil & natural gas transport, mining, travel, healthcare, finance & banking, community services, law enforcement, defence, or the space… almost all sectors will benefit from Big Data Analytics. Wherever the question of data and, more importantly, Archives of Data is raised, data analytics is the answer. This technology can be used to create more informed decisions.
Q: How is big data helping the law enforcement agencies?
A: It is crucial to point out that this technology is still in its nascent stage, and humongous data is required over the next few years to bring in a long-term change. Recent studies have revealed that by using predictive policing methods and technologies, the Los Angeles Police Department in the US has successfully achieved 33% reduction in burglaries, 21% decrease in violent crimes and 12% drop in property crime in the areas where predictive software is being used.