Hitachi Data Systems Corporation has announced that they have developed computer software that can predict crime before it happens. While this announcement sounds more like it was taken from a story about a dystopian future, Hitachi plans to field test this system in cities in the United States this fall.
While the system they’ve developed isn’t likely to be able to pinpoint individual crimes, such as in the cases depicted in the 2002 movie Minority Report, Hitachi’s Predictive Crime Analytics system (PCA) draws data from social media, public transit feeds, weather reports, etc., and analyses the information to identify potential crime scene locations, pinpointing them down to 200 square meters, as well as assessing the potential severity of the projected crimes for those locations.
While traditional police work already uses a similar method, Hitachi’s PCA can handle a much larger volume of information than what a human would be capable of. Hitachi CTO and Senior Director of Public Safety and Visualization, Darrin Lipscomb, remarks: “A human just can’t handle when you get to the tens or hundreds of variables that could impact crime.”
Hitachi plans on installing the system in police departments in six cities in the U.S. this October, with the selection of host cities to be announced at a later date. The company says they will make all of PCA’s data publicly available, to ensure transparency regarding the system’s accuracy. They also hope that having a machine handle data in this manner will lead to a reduction in the instances of biased police profiling, as police officers will have more information available when investigating, and won’t have to rely on potentially fallible suspicions.