What if the men in uniform are able to reach a scene of crime even before a criminal has struck? Come 2014, what now sounds incredible may not actually be impossible.
Jharkhand Police is in the process of adopting a radical crime control method termed predictive policing, popularised in the 2002 Hollywood blockbuster Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise.
Although, here police will team up with IIM-Ranchi and employ sophisticated algorithms and behavioural science — currently practised in real by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) — instead of using mutated humans like in the movie to almost mystically predict where a criminal will strike next.
Ranchi and Jamshedpur will be the pilots. And if police have their way, Jharkhand will be the first state in the country to adopt this futuristic technology and tackle crime with flawless steadfastness after eight months or so.
IG (special branch and operations) S.N. Pradhan said they would soon sign an MoU with the premier cradle, which uses advanced analytics in business intelligence methods to anticipate, predict and effectively leverage emerging trends and consumer behaviour.
The premise is simple and logical. Almost all criminals follow patterns. With modern software — the same kind that a major retailer may use to calculate consumer needs — police can map the pattern in the state and guess where the next crime of a particular genre (murder, rape, theft, blast, et al) may take place.
Armed with such information, police will be able to prevent crime and even flush out rebels.
Pradhan explained that predictive policing was based on intelligence-based patrol and rapid response. The strategy promises measurable results, including crime reduction. On whether predictive policing was dangerous like waking in the river after gauging its depth, the IG said even if the analyses gave 20 per cent results, it would be a big achievement for the force and go a long way in stemming Naxalism.
Detailing on the role of IIM, he said the B-school would establish a business analytics centre to provide a unique blend of applied mathematics, statistics, analytical tools and business processes to meet specific needs of the police. “For instance, if data related to a crime is provided to the centre, it will analyse and predict a possible place of occurrence of the next incident,” he added.
A few days ago SP (city) Vipul Shukla at a news conference had talked about a similar paradigm shift in Jharkhand’s law enforcement. Pradhan conceded that the matter was in discussion for quite sometime. “Predictive policing will be first launched in Ranchi and Jamshedpur on an experimental basis, and then gradually bring the entire state under its ambit,” he said.
IIM director M.J. Xavier confirmed that the cradle management was in talks with the police brass on this matter, but refused to give details. “The MoU has not been signed yet. I do not think it proper to discuss the matter at this stage,” he said. But, Pradhan maintained that a proposal had already been sent to the home department and the deal with IIM would be inked soon.
Asked about a possible deadline for the launch, the IG said it would barely take eight months because Jharkhand was only 12 years old and compiling data for IIM’s analytics centre would not be an arduous task.