How predictive analytics helps Indian police fight crime

In the wake of increasing crime rate in India, the police forces are gradually turning to big data and predictive analytics to fight against crime.

Sejuti Das Mar 21st 2017

Imagine a world in which we could predict crime and police officers would be sent to the incident spot as the crime is happening, or even before it happened. This could be achieved by predicting situations based on data trends in crimes.

According to the National Judicial Data reports, on an average, out of every 100 people worldwide, 12 people are affected by crime-related activities. In India alone, more than 3.7 crores cases were pending in courts as of 2014. In the wake of increasing crime rate in India, the police forces are increasingly turning to data analytics.

Big data and predictive analytics the cornerstones of analyzing multiple data types and data sources to predict and even prevent crimes from happening. As a result of the ever increasing shortage of police force to sift through the growing volumes of data including physical records, digital feeds, social media data and others, it is paramount for law enforcement agencies in the country to use advanced analytical tools. This move can save costs, and more importantly save time and the effort in crime investigation and prevention.

Data analytics, helpful for larger enterprises to make business decisions, can now be used to help police officers find the proverbial needle in massive haystacks, agreed analysts.

According to Ehtisham Zaidi, senior research analyst at Gartner, the Indian Police force has started taking an increasing interest in crime analytics using big data, which involves storing and analyzing huge volume and variety of data in real time, to predict and inference patterns and trends especially relating to human interactions and behavior.

“The police force now has access to mature big data storage platforms such as Hadoop, NoSQL etcetera, which allows them to store years’ worth of structured digital content and unstructured data within the same platform, and analyze them along with the incoming real time data to understand crime patterns within their jurisdictions,” he says.

He further adds that the Indian police force also uses predictive analytics to develop models using machine learning to know which areas are most prone to crime, and which individuals to keep on its watch list.

The Indian police force has started taking an increasing interest in crime analytics using big data, which involves storing and analyzing huge volume and variety of data in real time.

Delhi police have recently partnered with the ISRO to develop an analytical system—Crime Mapping, Analytics and Predictive System (CMAPS). CMAPS helps Delhi police to ensure internal security, controlling crime, and maintaining law and order through analysis of data and patterns.

According to a senior official in Delhi police, “Each one in the force will be equipped with Personal Digital Assistant device, which will be connected to a central system, and will contain records of more than two lakh criminals.”

Similarly, the Jharkhand police force is trying to implement an analytical system, with the help of IIM Ranchi, which would evaluate criminal records, date and time of crime occurrences, and location to predict crime-prone zones. The system is built on sophisticated algorithms and behavioral science, which will accumulate crime related data from all over the country.

From public records to social media information to informant tips, Indian police force has access to an expansive amount of data, which is spread over its legacy systems. Therefore, it becomes extremely important for Indian police across different states to adopt easy-to-operate analytical tools to utilize this vast intelligence.

According to Pankaj Kapoor, president at ACSG Corporate, several state police departments of the country are working with newer technologies to collect, analyze and predict data streams in real time to keep citizens safe.

“They use live camera feeds, communications, reports and other sources, by applying facial recognition and voice analytics,” says Kapoor.

Several other companies like IBM, Oracle, SAS, Microsoft, SAP, EMC, HP, and DELL are aggressively working towards the same agenda. Advanced analytic capabilities have now been integrated into several CCTV systems of the country to improve response times to crime incidents.

Alok Kumar, additional commissioner of Police (Law and Order), mentioned in an interview with ET, that the key is data mining and it is very important.

The Bangalore police with the help of IBM is now training officers on the better usage of data analytics software.

Another separate agency, National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) collects a huge amount of data and acts as clearing house information on national and international criminals. They use geographic information-based analytical systems to predict and curb the crime rates in the country.

Although criminals always try to be ahead of the law, deployment of big data and predictive analytics in Indian police agencies will help the police force to enhance the effectiveness of their work, making our country safer.