New Technologies In Criminal Justice

Close-up Of Handcuffs And Gavel In Front Of Judge Working On Laptop

Technology has impacted every area of life, including crime. In the criminal justice system, it’s often used to save the lives of officers as well as bystanders and innocent victims. For example, GPS monitoring can be used to track criminals through a physical device attached to a vehicle or using a cell phone. Robots can be used in dangerous situations and possibly save the lives of both human and canine officers while drones can provide an overview of a location without the use of a helicopter.


Data Collection

Interlinked DNA databases can immediately identify criminals and their known crimes, which decreases the number of criminals that are unknowingly released after arrest. The N-DEx system is a national system that interlinks federal, state, tribal, and local databases in order to provide a more comprehensive view of situational awareness. It’s unclassified and contains arrest information, booking reports, photos, and other information to enable law enforcement to solve crimes. There’s no fee charged to use the system and it’s available online with 24/7 access.

NGI, or Next Generation Identification

The FBI uses NGI biometrics to match criminals to their crime through facial recognition, fingerprints, iris recognition, and palm prints.

License Plate Scanners

Automatic plate scanning identifies whether a vehicle is stolen or if there’s an arrest warrant for the driver. It’s also used to identify vehicles that have been used to smuggle drugs.

Gunshot Detection Technology

Although the concept originated in WW1, technological advances now enable gunshot detection systems to be used on elevated structures to determine the location, the number, and the type of shots being fired as well as the human voices connected with them. Police have successfully used the voice evidence to convict criminals.

Predictive Analytics

Predictive policing has been implemented on a trial basis throughout the nation and has reduced the number of crimes so far. Since it’s used by a machine and calculated by computer algorithms, personal bias shouldn’t be a factor in the results.

Paperless Reporting

On-board computers enable officers in the field to complete their reports:

  • Without the need to return to the office
  • With fewer spelling and grammar errors
  • Without the need to return to the scene for additional photos
  • With automatic back up so their reports are secure
  • And instantly upload them
  • More comprehensively without loss of data due to not remembering details

Trace Chemistry

LA-ICP-MS, or laser ablation/plasma mass spectrometry, can identify minute shards of glass and connect them to a particular door or window and then connect it to clothing worn at a crime scene. This enables law enforcement to identify criminals that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to place at the crime scene.

Video Spectral Comparator 2000

The spectral analysis of paper, even when it has been severely damaged by fire or water, can yield information on the quality and origin of the paper as well as writing that may be hidden.

Digital Surveillance For Xbox

The XFT can access hidden files on Xbox game consoles, which have become targets for criminals to hide data. Evidence obtained can be used in court to prosecute criminals.

Link Analysis Software

Forensic accountants can use this software to track unusual financial activity when trying to locate funds. Rather than spending days or weeks poring over financial records, link analysis software can streamline the procedure and provide more accurate data.

Forensic Carbon-14 Dating

Carbon-14 dating has long been used in archaeology, but it’s now being used to determine the age of current human remains as well as the year that they died. Although traditional carbon dating has been used to determine the ages of people or items that were at least 500 years old, scientists can now use it for current applications.

DNA Sequencing

Most people are familiar with the use of DNA to identify criminals and victims. However, when a quality DNA sample isn’t available, scientists can use DNA sequencing to achieve identification. The sequencer indicates the genetic order of an individual’s DNA and provides a DNA pattern that will identify a suspect or a victim.

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