Fingerprinting, DNA, GPS tracking and Google Earth have all helped solve crimes and catch criminals. Technology continues to evolve and advance, so what are some of the latest hi-tech equipment that brings criminals to justice?
Automated License Plate Recognition Cameras
Police use automated license plate recognition cameras to find stolen vehicles. The camera snaps a picture of the license plate and runs the photograph through a database of stolen automobiles. These cameras can take pictures from a long distance. Even helicopters can use them. The cameras can also be used at stop lights to record cars that run a red light.
This type of technology measures a suspect’s electrical brainwaves. The suspect wears a headband that is embedded with electronic sensors, and the person is then shown images, words or phrases on a computer screen. Brain Fingerprinting is based on the theory that the brain reacts differently to known information than unknown information. Showing a suspect pictures of a crime scene or victims and recording the brain activity could tie the suspect to the crime. Brain Fingerprinting has been used to convict JB Grinder, a serial killer, and has helped prove the innocence of Terry Harrington.
Shot Spotting has helped save 250 lives so far. Since it was installed in Nassau County, New York, gun crime dropped 32%. The Shot Spotting detects the sound waves of a gunshot. GPS receivers then forward the exact location of the gunshot to police. This new technology has helped police and medical help arrive faster.
Property Marking System
When something of value, such as a watch or lawn mower, is marked, it makes it harder for the burglar to sell. Items can be permanently marked by engraving identifying information like a phone number, initials or a zip code. Items can also be invisibly marked by using an ultra-violet pen. SmartWater, a company in the United Kingdom, makes an invisible liquid that can only be seen under ultraviolet light. Their product has been used to mark property or even to mark burglars. If the liquid is put in a home’s sprinkler system, it sprays a burglar and the solution will last for months. Each customer has their own uniquely coded liquid.
OnStar, a program installed in General Motors cars, assists police in more than one way. Onstar can be used to track the location of a stolen vehicle. It can also slow down an automobile by restricting the car’s fuel reserves. OnStar can slow a vehicle down to five miles an hour, ending high speed chases for police.
A research center in China has collected over 500 body odor scents. Every person has a unique smell, just like they have a unique fingerprint or DNA. A crime scene can be wiped for fingerprints, but a criminal might have a harder time erasing their scent. Using dogs, authorities have caught criminals using the body odor databank.
Police have also used technology in its simplest way to solve crimes. For example, a burglar that broke into a school in Athens, Georgia dropped his cell phone while fleeing. The police picked up his phone, scrolled through the contacts and called “Ma” in his contact list. His mother gave the police his name. As technology continues to advance, criminals that can’t keep up are caught and arrested.
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