Along with many other fields, advancements in technology are having a big impact on the criminal justice system in various ways. On one hand, increased access to the Internet means that some defendants are using computers to search for Baltimore criminal defense attorneys or ideas on how to strengthen their case. On the other side, police departments and prosecutors are using technology to help put criminals behind bars.
Improvements in technology have resulted in a lot of police departments around the country using data mining. Data mining is a process in which large amounts of data are broken down so that patterns are more evident. This can be through machine learning, statistics, or database systems. Police use this process almost as a crime predictor tool. They’re able to note and map where and when crimes have occurred, and then predict when future crimes might take place based on any patterns. These breakthroughs can help encourage stronger police presences in some areas or provide better management of police forces. These aspects can all work together to help offer better safety measures for communities.
Another piece of technology that’s starting to be implemented more is the ShotSpotter. This is an acoustic gunshot sensor that works to detect the sound of gunfire in a specific location. It then triangulates the location so that police can respond directly to that site. Even just gathering this data (similar to the principle behind the data mining practice) means that researchers can discover which areas are higher in gun violence, resulting in a possible increase of resources for that area.
Many police departments throughout the US have also implemented technology measures like GPS and heads-up displays (HUDs) in patrol cars and body cams and ‘smart belts’ that help improve many aspects of police work. The GPS and HUDs can make a police officer’s life easier by providing accurate directions and information from dispatch while they’re patrolling the streets. Additionally, ‘smart belts’ are worn by officers on duty. They can be beneficial in situations where an officer needs to pull their weapon. As soon as they do, the belt immediately sends a distress signal to dispatch, who can then request backup where the officer is located. Since the belt eliminates the need for the officer to radio for help, they can give their full concentration to the situation at hand.
In the future, police officers might even employ more drones to help fly into unsafe areas. Although there are privacy concerns with drones, they could end up being a very useful piece of technology. And therein lies an important issue – as exciting as it is that technology can revolutionize the criminal justice field, there will always be delays as people determine which liberties they’re willing to give up. But as technology changes the game, in the long run, few can argue that these advancements have not led to improvements in how police are able to effectively do their jobs.