Big Data Can Help Fight Crime

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The amount of data floating around the world is huge. According to some estimates, 4.5 quintillion bytes of data are created daily around the world. That’s 4.5 with 17 zeros following it. For reference, an average song take only 5,000,000 bytes to store. In fact, nearly all, 90% or so, of data has been created in the last two years alone. It come from a variety of sources, from meteorological stations, and from social media posts. If you want to find it – it’s probably there, somewhere.

The problem is that there is too much hay in the stack to even try and find a needle. Studies estimate that analysts spend over half their time sorting through data, and only a quarter doing analysis. Managing data is so time consuming it’s straining resources in the departments we need to keep us safe.

While technology has caused this seeming problem of an overabundance of information, it can also solve it. Specialty software designed for enhanced pattern analysis can provide vital assistance to law enforcement and intelligence officers when they need it most.

Through “fuzzy searches” and sophisticated analytics techniques of partial information, such as aliases or a fragment of a license plate number, analysts and officers can search through multiple interconnected databases to speed up an investigation. Enhanced pattern analysis software can make connections between seemingly unrelated people and places by sifting through amounts of data that would be simply unfeasible for a human.

Analytics software can help police departments determine how to better allocate their resources. By analysing crime patterns in relation to policing efforts, departments can quickly learn when to send out police cars to an area, or when officers on foot are a more effective deterrent.

Multiple real-world experiments around the globe have proven the usefulness of Big Data analysis. From Tuscon, Arizona to Manchester, UK, these experiments show that when harnessed correctly, Big Data can make for more effective, efficient, and useful police forces.