In today's technology-driven world, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into various sectors has been transforming the way we approach complex challenges. One area where AI has led to significant advancements is law enforcement and criminal investigations. Most notably, the advent of using AI-driven video and audio analysis has revolutionized how law enforcement agencies solve crimes and streamline investigations for faster, more accurate results.
The Power of AI to Maximize the Value of Video and Audio Content
AI-driven media analysis involves the use of sophisticated algorithms to analyze vast amounts of video footage and audio files, extracting valuable insights and identifying relevant patterns and evidence. Video and audio content can originate from a variety of sources, including body camera footage, in-car video, doorbell cameras, audio and video recordings from inmate phone calls, and social media content. Traditional methods of video and audio analysis are labor-intensive and time-consuming, often requiring investigators and analysts to manually review hours of recordings to pinpoint critical moments. AI changes this by automating and accelerating the process—effectively doing hours of work in minutes.
Four Advantages of AI-Driven Video and Audio Analysis
1. Rapid Review of Video and Audio Content
One of the most significant benefits of AI-driven video analysis is the speed at which it allows analysts to review video and audio content. AI algorithms can sift through hours of footage in a fraction of the time it takes a human investigator. This rapid processing lets law enforcement agencies quickly identify potential evidence or spot relevant details that can aid in solving crimes. It also lets personnel resources—already stretched thin in today’s law enforcement communities—cover more ground and be more productive.
An investigator recently stated that they have “terabytes” of video to review—and that’s just for a single case! This task is nearly impossible unless you have a technological advantage.
2. Object and Pattern Recognition
AI algorithms excel at recognizing objects, faces, license plates, and other relevant patterns within videos. This capability is especially useful in identifying suspects, evidence, witnesses, and vehicles involved in criminal activities. By automating the process of identifying and tagging these elements, investigators can expedite their work and focus on other critical aspects of the case.
3. Real-time Alerts and Monitoring
Systems using AI-driven video and audio analysis systems can be set up to provide real-time alerts for specific events, content, or behaviors. In a simple example, if a surveillance camera detects an unauthorized person entering a restricted area, the system can immediately notify law enforcement officers. This real-time alert feature enables a proactive response, potentially preventing crimes from escalating.
On a more complex scale, web crawlers and scrapers can monitor social media platforms and identify specific behaviors or activity on the internet or dark web, and then immediately alert investigators. Several recent events, including riots and major protests, were planned out and propagated on social media. With monitoring and alerting capabilities, these events can either be thwarted or law enforcement can be better prepared with appropriate resources ahead of the incident.
4. More-Accurate Information
Human perception is fallible. Reviewing videos and audio files for a prolonged period can lead to fatigue, which can cause humans to miss important information and critical evidence. On the other hand, AI algorithms consistently identify objects, key words, and situations and maintain an extremely high level of accuracy—even when processing large volumes of data. This consistently high level of accuracy contributes to the reliability of evidence presented in court and can strengthen the case against perpetrators.
Even though AI-driven technology is accelerating the discovery of critical evidence, humans must stay “in the loop” to verify and cross-reference results with other relevant information.
While AI-driven video and audio analysis has immense potential, there are challenges that need to be addressed. Ensuring the ethical and auditable use of AI, protecting the privacy rights of individuals within the ever-changing legal landscape, and avoiding algorithmic bias are all critical concerns that must be carefully navigated by both technology vendors and end users. Additionally, integrating AI-driven systems with existing infrastructures can present technical hurdles, such as ensuring compatibility with a variety of audio and video formats and sources.
As technology continues to evolve, the capabilities of AI-driven media analysis are expected to expand even further. Advancements in machine learning, computer vision, and deep learning techniques will likely enhance the accuracy, speed, and sophistication of these systems.
On a human level, there is much discussion and research on the long-term impact of constantly watching videos of stressful images. If AI-driven systems can relieve humans from having to review hours and hours of footage that, for example, includes graphic violence or the exploitation of children, then it can mitigate the negative impact these images have on law enforcement personnel.
AI-driven video and audio analysis represents a game-changing tool for law enforcement agencies in their efforts to solve more crimes more efficiently. It revolutionizes the investigative process by letting analysts review content, analyze the results, and extract insights significantly faster than can be done manually. AI-driven video and audio analysis lets investigators focus on the bigger picture while the system handles the more labor-intensive task of processing content. As technology advances and challenges are addressed, the future promises even more sophisticated, AI-driven solutions that will continue to transform the landscape of criminal investigations.
About the Author
Daniel Jackson, a former law enforcement officer who retired from White Plains Police Department as First Deputy Commissioner of Public Safety, currently serves as the Director of Business Development for SNIPR.ai, a DataShapes company. Before joining SNIPR.ai, Daniel served as Senior Vice President for Allied Universal security systems (AUS) in charge of the Simon Properties for over 10 years. Daniel can be reached at [email protected].