Tech Used In Crime Prevention

Tech Used In Crime Prevention
10 Min Read

The tech industry has been very much involved in crime prevention initiatives. Security cameras, facial recognition software, video analytics, etc

The tech industry has been very much involved in crime prevention initiatives. Security cameras, facial recognition software, video analytics, etc. are some of the examples of tech that are used to detect crimes before they happen.

The tech industry is also using AI to build up security systems that can help authorities in the detection process. For example, there are AI-powered tools which now help law enforcement agencies to find out if an individual is a risk factor for the community or might be engaged in criminal activities.

The person’s social media profiles are scanned for any signs of their disruptive behavior or something else that would indicate their potential involvement with crimes.

These technologies can help police in a number of ways, most notably by stopping criminals from committing acts of burglary, violence towards others or dealings concerned in the supply of class A drugs.

ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition)

Number-plate recognition is the system of identifying the registration number on a motor vehicle, primarily for law enforcement purposes. The systems are typically used to identify vehicles that are breaking motor vehicle laws, such as speeding or driving without insurance.

The first time that number-plate recognition was deployed in an operational setting was in 1973, by the Los Angeles Police Department, but it only scanned plates sequentially and could not process or analyze information. It wasn't until 1983 when officers were able to read plates automatically and match them against a database of stolen vehicles.

Tech Used In Crime Prevention


  1. Why we use ANPR

Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology is used to help detect, deter and disrupt criminality at a local, force, regional and national level, including tackling traveling criminals, Organised Crime Groups and terrorists. ANPR provides lines of enquiry and evidence in the investigation of crime and is used by LEA throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

How it works

As a vehicle passes an ANPR camera, its registration number is read and instantly checked against database records of vehicles of interest. Police officers can intercept and stop a vehicle, check it for evidence and, where necessary, make arrests. A record for all vehicles passing by a camera is stored, including those for vehicles that are not known to be of interest at the time of the read that may in appropriate circumstances be accessed for investigative purposes. The use of ANPR in this way has proved to be important in the detection of many offences, including locating stolen vehicles, tackling uninsured vehicle use and solving cases of terrorism, major and organised crime. It also allows officers’ attention to be drawn to offending vehicles whilst allowing law abiding drivers to go about their business unhindered.

At present around 13000 ANPR cameras nationally, submit on average around 55 million ANPR ‘read’ records to national ANPR systems daily. (source)

Police Drones UK

Police forces in the UK are starting to use drones for a number of purposes. Drones can be used for surveillance, search and rescue operations, and agricultural purposes. One of the most significant usages is for law enforcement during a terrorist attack or a hostage situation. This would allow police to see a clearer view from above.

The use of drones by police forces in the UK has been increasing over recent years due to the number of benefits it provides such as improved accuracy, safer operation and lower cost.

What types of drones do Surrey Police and Sussex Police use?

We currently operate a few different drone models across Surrey and Sussex. As drone technology advances, we aim to ensure we have the most up to date drones to best meet our needs in the service of our communities across the counties. Therefore, the types of drones we operate does change.

Currently our main frontline drone fleet is made up of the DJI M210 and M300, the Evolve SkyMantis and for some of our specialist teams such as Roads Policing and our Tactical Firearms Unit, the DJI M2E which is a smaller more agile drone.

How many drone pilots do we have?

We currently have approximately 170 pilots across Surrey and Sussex to maintain a drone capability 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The nature of policing means that the exact numbers vary as officers move to other roles or are promoted. (source)

Facial Recognition Software

Facial recognition is a technology that’s been in the news quite a bit as of late, and understandably so as it is poised to become one of the next big breakthroughs in criminology.

What has made facial recognition such an attractive option for law enforcement is its ability to track down criminals with a higher degree of accuracy than any other method currently available. Facial recognition can also be used to identify individuals who have been censored from public databases, which makes it a valuable tool for crime prevention.

There are some skeptics of the technology, however, who cite concerns about government overreach and potential for bias. Given the notoriously inaccurate nature of facial recognition software today, these worries are not unfounded - which is why it’s important that this new system be carefully monitored.

Metropolitan Police

The UK’s biggest police force is set to significantly expand its facial recognition capabilities before the end of this year. New technology will enable London’s Metropolitan Police to process historic images from CCTV feeds, social media and other sources in a bid to track down suspects

he proposal says that in the coming months the Met will start using Retrospective Facial Recognition (RFR), as part of a £3 million, four-year deal with Japanese tech firm NEC Corporation. (source)

Mobile Phone Data

The police use mobile phone data for different purposes. Most commonly they use it to track down criminals and investigate kidnappings, but also to find the location of victims of natural disasters or accidents.

Mobile phone data is vital in solving crimes because more often than not, communication on a mobile device is what links individuals together. Criminals will use communication devices to communicate with each other and with their victims, or plan their crimes like robberies or break-ins. They also tend to use communication devices to organise drug deals and other illegal activities. Are encrypted phones illegal?

Mobile phones are another essential tool for crime-fighting because more often than not they are what links individuals together in criminal activity. For example, criminals will use communication devices like texting or social media like Facebook Messenger to communicate with each other and with their victims of hate crimes.