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Predictive Policing – Big Brother is Watching Your Every Move

Predictive Policing

Data is ubiquitous.

More of it is collected on you every day.

Your personal life is going public… and you’re paying to make it happen.

Your phone, computer and other devices track your every move.

Companies are building sensors everywhere. And more of your devices are connecting to the internet every day.

According to Gartner, the internet of things (IoT) excluding PCs, tablets and smartphones, will grow to 26 billion units installed in 2020. That’s a 30-fold increase from 0.9 billion in 2009.

By 2020, component costs will have come down to the point that connectivity will become a standard feature, even for processors costing less than $1.

The IoT is enabling massive data collection on your habits. Computers analyze all of your data. Your privacy is disappearing.

Companies are learning what you want before you even know it. For example, Amazon has obtained a patent to ship goods before you make the decision to buy them.

Businesses are not the only ones analyzing your growing online “profiles.” Governments are getting in on the act… and they have more control.

The government has access to your travel, medical and other history. Analyzing your data allows the government to improve our communities in many ways. But on the flipside, it’s also creating new problems.

Today I’d like to focus on one area that’s using big data analytics. It’s lowering crime and keeping your neighborhood safer. It’s predictive policing. Big changes are underway in policing and crime prevention.

Predictive Policing

Folks have been drawing crime maps since the 1800s. Mapping the crimes helped in predicting where and when crime would happen again.

Today, crime maps are online and much more detailed. They include in-depth crime history, public transit stations, nearby businesses and even weather. Special software uses the data to determine hotspots. Cops then patrol those locations to prevent crime.

Each new crime adds more data. Cities will continue to collect more data on you and your community. Crime prevention software will then further reduce violence.

Minority Report anyone?

Minority Report was a film based on a “pre-crime division” that arrested people before the crimes even took place. The plot is a bit of a stretch, but leaps and bounds are being made today in predictive policing.

The benefits of predictive policing are straightforward… safer communities. But there are a few downsides as well.

Predictive Policing Drawbacks

One negative to predictive policing is a possible feedback loop. More crime happens in minority and poor communities. This would lead to more cops patrolling those areas and in turn, opportunistic arrests.

Another downside will be complete control. The laws will rule the land. Now this isn’t all bad… but remember America wouldn’t be around if laws weren’t broken.

Still, predictive policing will continue to improve. It’s used in big cities today and will expand.

Cops collect more data each day. The new data can be used to better predict and prevent crimes.

Predictive policing isn’t the only change with law enforcement. Other technologies are making cops more efficient.

Cops are being equipped with body cameras. They help keep cops accountable and collect data on arrests. Taser International (Nasdaq: TASR) provides electrical weapons and body cameras for cops.

Surveillance is just one of many areas that our government is expanding upon.

Many folks say they have nothing to hide and don’t worry… but the U.S. government has been hacked many times. Your personal data could be misused if stolen or under bad governance.

We live in the information age. And you’re paying to put yours online. Businesses and governments take advantage. They may soon know you better than you do.


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