In Britain, the police are rapidly
increasing the use of ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition). This system
takes advantage of cheaper, more reliable high resolution digital cameras that
can read vehicle license plates. This started as a system to catch and fine
people who ran red lights. But the British police have found that they could
record the plate information for everyone who went through each camera location,
and store the plate ID and time in a database. This is now being used as a
crime fighting resource, along with other traffic monitoring systems (like
electronic toll collection).
United States, police have been using traffic monitoring video cameras to track
fleeing criminals, or assist in the surveillance of suspects. Prosecutors have
already been using these videos, and electronic toll collection system data to
convict, or exonerate, those accused of crimes.
In Iraq and
Afghanistan, similar systems, used as part of base defenses, to track
suspicious activities, or assist in the pursuit of enemy forces. The U.S. Army
is developing a new generation of remote sensors that uses similar technology.
These can be air dropped, or placed by troops on the ground, to provide more
monitoring capability in remote areas.
of the police or military to store vast quantities of this data also allows for
suspicious activity to be sought out after a crime has occurred. Criminals, and
terrorists, usually scout out a location before carrying out a crime. Advances
in pattern recognition and statistical analysis software helps investigators
find things that are not easily noticed at a glance.