The NYPD has reportedly been using a “pattern recognition system” called “Patternizr” which searches through files, discovers patterns, and helps police solve crimes.
According to the Washington Post, Patternizr, which was rolled out in December 2016 after two years in development, “allows crime analysts stationed in each of the department’s 77 precincts to compare robberies, larcenies and thefts to hundreds of thousands of crimes logged in the NYPD’s database, transforming their hunt for crime patterns with the click of a button.”
“It’s much faster than the old method, which involved analysts sifting through reports, racking their brains for key details about various crimes and deciding whether they fit into a pattern,” the Washington Post reported. “It’s more comprehensive, too, with analysts able to spot patterns across the city instead of just in their precinct.”
One example of the system’s success was when “a syringe-wielding drill thief tried sticking up a Home Depot near Yankee Stadium.”
Using Patternizr, police reportedly discovered that a “man had also used a syringe a few weeks earlier while stealing a drill at another Home Depot 7 miles (11 kilometers) south in Manhattan.”
“The software also found two other thefts committed with a syringe by the same suspect, who was eventually arrested and pleaded guilty to larceny and assault,” the report claimed.
The NYPD’s Assistant Commissioner of Data Analytics, Evan Levine, told the Post that the system’s “goal” is “of course, to improve public safety,” and that the “more easily that we can identify patterns in those crimes, the more quickly we can identify and apprehend perpetrators.”
Despite New York City’s crime reportedly declining in 2019, murder and rape cases have “soared.”
On New Year’s Eve, the NYPD reportedly used a drone to monitor Times Square, while last year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo revealed that facial recognition systems were scanning drivers in New York City and placing their photos in databases.
Police officers in the United Kingdom have also started to use facial recognition technology to catch criminals.