Predicting crimes BEFORE they happen: Berlin police adopt Minority Report-style software that seeks out criminal behaviour
But, police in Berlin are considering adopting a similar software that predicts crimes and is named ‘Precobs’ – in a nod to the sci-fi film.
Other forces, including police officers in two American states and London’s Metropolitan Police are also trialling predictive systems to catch would-be criminals.
Developed by a German firm, the software program predicts when and where a crime is most likely to occur, based on different sets of data.
It is being tested by police in the southern state of Bavaria.
‘The Berlin police is first waiting for the results of the trial run in Bavaria’ before deciding on on whether to acquire Precobs, a spokesman said.
The name is a contraction of ‘Pre-Crime Observation System’.
The ‘Precobs’ title borrows deliberately from the ‘precog’ term used in Minority Report referring to three psychics who predict crimes before they happen.
The 2002 movie starring Tom Cruise and directed by Steven Spielberg was based on a story by Philip K Dick.
The German Precobs system relies on data of the location, time and other details of past crimes, such as home break-ins.
When a new incident is reported, the software analyses the data to look for a pattern that will point to a future target.
It was developed by the Institute for pattern-based Prediction Technique in Oberhausen.
The initial results from tests on burglaries in the Bavarian cities of Munich and Nuremberg are ‘promising’, the state’s interior minister Joachim Herrmann said in a progress report last month.
But a civil rights activist voiced concern in Tuesday’s Berliner Zeitung that personal data could eventually be used, instead of the currently anonymous information.
Two months ago, London’s Metropolitan Police announced it has tested a system that analyses a person’s criminal history, and posts on social media, to assess how likely it is for them to commit a crime.
The 20-week pilot study, which is the first of its kind in the UK, combined data from different crime reporting and crime intelligence systems used by the Met to pinpoint gang members who are more likely to commit violent crimes.
Developed by global consulting group, Accenture, the latest software helped police analyse intelligence about known gang members across London’s 32 boroughs across a four year period.
Police then compared the software’s results to known acts of violence that took place in the fifth year to test its accuracy, but they are keeping quiet about the results.
In Singapore, authorities are undertaking a Safe City initiative that combines electronic vision technologies and predictive analytics into CCTV video feeds to detect street incidents.
By SARAH GRIFFITHS FOR MAILONLINE