crime

Kyoto police set up system to predict when and where crimes will happen

22 Comments
By RocketNews24

Two months ago, in Kyoto City, a patrolman was walking along the street when he noticed a motorcycle drive away as if to avoid him. Finding that odd, the officer jotted down the bike’s license plate number. Shortly after, a string of purse snatchings by a man on a motorbike took place. During the investigation, that written-down license number led to a 20-year-old suspect who admitted to the crimes.

A month before that, another officer walked in on a would-be motorcycle thief right when he was in the middle of jacking a bike.

These aren’t just incidents of random luck, however. Those cops knew just where to be and what to look out for thanks to a new system adopted by the Kyoto Prefectural police and used by local law enforcement throughout the prefecture.

It’s called the Predictive Crime Defense System (Yosokugata Hanzai Bogyo System), a computer system that can tell police when and where certain types of crime are most likely to be committed. For example, if an officer is looking to bust some pickpockets, they simply type the crime and the time of day into the system and a map of the area will feature color-coded sectors.

The darker the area, the higher the risk of that crime occurring is present. Think of it like the gang-war map used in "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," only with the purpose of stopping crimes rather than committing war in the streets to protect Grove Street turf.

This system allows police to efficiently dispatch patrols to the highest risk areas and hopefully prevent crimes from occurring at all. Since implementing the system, Kyoto police have cruised areas with a high chance of sexual assault in patrol cars with their flashing lights on. Also, in areas where the system reveals a car robbery is likely to happen, police are extra vigilant in checking cars for suspicious damage or activity.

Since the primary goal of the system is prevention, it will be some time before results can be seen. However, Kyoto had gotten the idea from a project in Santa Cruz, California, which has used a similar system for years and has reported a 20% reduction in crime.

There is no magic to this predictive system, however, as it just analyses tens of thousands of past crime reports and calculates when and where certain types of crime tend to happen. Still, this hasn’t stopped netizens from debating which dystopian sci-fi classic the Predictive Crime Defense System most closely resembles.

“Isn’t this the future that Psycho-Pass warned us about?” “When I hear ‘predict future crime’ it’s hard not to think about Minority Report.” “Finally, Psycho-Pass is beginning in Japan… Crime prediction from big data!!” “Sure the whole thing is like sci-fi, but why Kyoto?” “Wow, forget the system. We have to harness Philip K. Dick’s predictive ability.” “Pfft, this is hardly Minority Report…but it’s a little close to Person of Interest.”

True, this isn’t so much a time-bending psychic power as it is regular statistical analysis, but it does trigger some of the same ethical concerns that these works of fiction bring up.

Earlier this month, in Fukuoka Prefecture, a man was arrested for carrying a flashlight… That’s it. The incident sparked a renewed interest in a law that allows police to arrest people simply for carrying something that could conceivably be used in a crime (crowbar, striped shirt, sack with a big dollar sign, etc.).

Although not connected to the Predictive Crime Defense System, it does illustrate the considerable leeway police get when making arrests. If fueled by a sense that a crime is about to occur, it doesn’t take a fancy computer system to predict a spike in false arrests may occur, even if they are well-intentioned false arrests.

Hopefully these concerns are being addressed by law enforcement, especially since the Predictive Crime Defense System is expected to go nationwide soon. Failing that, they can probably get one of those hairless precogs chained up in a pool for better results.

Sources: NHK News, Hachima Kiko, J-Cast News

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Getting stopped by the police in Japan – how often does it happen (and why?) -- Japan: Guilty Until Proven Innocent documentary shines light on controversial legal system【Video】 -- Biker assaulted by iron bar-wielding Nara innkeeper, not the other way around

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22 Comments
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Let me see:

Predictive Crime Defense System

plus

considerable leeway police get when making arrests

doesn't bode well for human rights, methinks.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

But a policeman isn't allowed to stop me and ask me to show him my flashlight or striped shirt without a good reason of suspicion. Is me getting out of a cab near a dark alley considered suspicious behavior?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You can't effectively predict a crime that hasn't taken place yet. That would all be false and you couldn't convict a person on suspicion only. They criminal needs to actually do the crime before they can be arrested. This makes living in this country that much more scary! hahahahahah

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Is me getting out of a cab near a dark alley considered suspicious behavior?

Apparently yes according to the article if you are in the black area, and don't worry they'll find a way to get the forced confession out of you for any of their unresolved crimes.

Earlier this month, in Fukuoka Prefecture, a man was arrested for carrying a flashlight… in the meantime, Politician do corruption and stay in place

The incident sparked a renewed interest in a law that allows police to arrest people simply for carrying something that could >>conceivably be used in a crime (crowbar, striped shirt, sack with a big dollar sign, etc.). You can be arrested for carrying sack with a big dollar sign ? I worry with the "etc..."

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Minority Report?

For example, if an officer is looking to bust some pickpockets, they simply type the crime and the time of day into the system and a map of the area will feature color-coded sectors.

Hah, this smells like BS.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Apparently yes according to the article if you are in the black area, and don't worry they'll find a way to get the forced confession out of you for any of their unresolved crimes.

Scary.

I've had a bit of experience being detained by the police and pushed to admit to something I really didn't do and all I can say is, being detained and pushed or coheres by the Japanese police is No laughing matter, even if it is something small like a traffic infraction, once you get caught up in the system, it's a headache trying to get out of it, especially if you are a foreigner.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It’s called the Predictive Crime Defense System (Yosokugata Hanzai Bogyo System), a computer system that can tell police when and where certain types of crime are most likely to be committed.

It should just be called, the lucky system.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Common sense does the same at a cheaper cost to tax payers. I can tell you where crimes could be committed as well. I'll do it for free if a cop would just listen.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Was the man arrested for carrying a flashlight charged and, if so, for what?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

i wonder what data feeds does it have...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

More back-to-the-future type stuff.

The darker the area, the higher the risk of that crime occurring is present.

More street lights running on solar would decrease crime then.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sounds like a plot for minority report.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Hmmmmm..... Given police practices in Japan and the huge power they have to coerce people arrested into admitting something, I am not sure I like this. I get that the point is to increase police presence or visibility where they thing that crimes might occur, but this is a short step to arresting people based on this "predictive" system.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

But a policeman isn't allowed to stop me and ask me to show him my flashlight or striped shirt without a good reason of suspicion.

sorry but probably cause is not really required (apparently refusal to submit is probable cause) and profiling is allowed in japan.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

apparently refusal to submit is probable cause

I've heard this repeated regularly, but I've never seen anything to conclusively prove it one way or the other.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

OMG !; WHERE have you people BEEN ? Didn't Japan's favorite hero, Tom Cruise star in a movie about just THIS?! Come on....all these comments and I had to be the one to say it first. Anyway, here it is, PRE-Crime, and you saw it FIRST from your buddy & mine, Tom Cruise.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The way this system is presented here and how people are reacting to it is quite amusing, but the key part of the article for me is:

"There is no magic to this predictive system, however, as it just analyses tens of thousands of past crime reports and calculates when and where certain types of crime tend to happen. Still, this hasn’t stopped netizens from debating which dystopian sci-fi classic the Predictive Crime Defense System most closely resembles."

Anyone here with reasonable database/coding skills could probably build something similar given the time and access to the same data. Something similar could easily be built using the latest version of Excel and it's 3D Maps function. Really no need for all this 'Minority Report' talk. It's not a person-focused system.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I know for a fact and ask anyone who work in the hospital Emergence, The full moon is the busiest night of the month.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sounds like a good approach. Up until now, I thought police were somewhat reluctant to deal with crimes such as stalking activities. They seemed to become rather motivated to catch a criminal after a victim was unfortunately killed. Hope police in Tokyo and other areas will follow suit with the efforts of Kyoto police.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is already done in the US

"Police Use Analytics to Reduce Crime"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5n2UjBO22EI

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It sounds like NUMB3RS - cutting-edge and kind of cool - but it could easily be misused.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Predictable! A Japanese-style "Minority Report"! Some might be led to believe that the J-cops and their government bosses must have been taking a leaf from the writings of Philip K. Dick (in translation), whereas "Thought Crime" (思想犯) is as Japanese as yaki-soba. This could be a sign of more to come, so the Japanese people had better keep a closer eye on the developing pattern of governmental monitoring and control.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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