Data analysis tools —used by banks to determine if you are likely to default on loan repayment — could soon help nab criminals.
The National Crime Records Bureau decided to deploy data analytics to not only track criminals but also to predict incidence of crime in a region on the basis of past incidents.
The data analysis tools would be part of the crime and criminal tracking network & systems (CCTNS) that seeks to computerise database management at a police station level and link it with 12,000-odd police stations.
This means that if the Tamil Nadu Police arrests a person in Chennai, they could run his fingerprints or photograph through the CCTNS network to determine if he was wanted in any other crime elsewhere in the country.
At a more ambitious level, the project also envisages installing cameras at key locations, which with a special software could scan faces and vehicles against a blacklist. But data analytics does more than this.
It can link similar modus operandi of criminals across the country.
Ian Manocha, the UK-based vice president of SAS, the world leader in business analytics software, said India was on the right track with projects such as Natgrid and CCTNS.
Manocha, who was in India recently to interact with law enforcement agencies, said, "India had a chance to move up the maturity curve… leapfrog because the idea is multi-agency sharing of information."
But India will need to work harder because its capability to capture data in digital form is not strong and fragmented. It will take a long time to get consistent high quality capture of intelligence or crime statistics.
Private sector has been using this tool for more than a decade.