Predictive policing is an idea whose time has come, say senior officers. While admitting that the project has been in a limbo for long, they assert that it needs to be put on the fast track.
In February, Delhi Police tied up with the Indian Space Research Organisation for developing a predictive policing tool called CMAPS — Crime Mapping, Analytics and Predictive System. This, officers said, would arm the cops with relevant and timely data in the fight against organized crime.
The technology may not be as fanciful as it sounds and has already been tried in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, London and Berlin.
Coupled with MHA-approved call interceptions, it would give the police an edge over the criminals who were regularly coming up with unique ways to communicate, said an officer. The project, if completed, would use space technology to help the sleuths collect and assess data. The cops on the ground would be equipped with personal digital assistant devices, connected to a central processor storing records of more than 2 lakh criminals.
The technology, cops said, would thus allow real-time access to vital information at the crime scene itself, so that the officers don’t have to go back to the police station for filing a report. The system would convert every distress call into a digital message with the location of the caller being flashed through GPS.
Crime-mapping is currently a periodical process conducted manually by gathering electronic data at an interval of 15 days. The reports are prepared by the joint commissioners and forwarded to special commissioners (law and order), who then brief the police chief.