TMCnet Feature
October 19, 2021

The Different Types of Detection Technology Used in Crime Prevention

Crime prevention is the epitome of good police work and is the overarching goal of law enforcement agencies around the world. Read on to find out more about the different types of technologies used to fight crime….

Crime prevention is no easy task for law enforcement, which is why they need the help of various technologies to do it. These technologies can help police in a number of ways, most notably by stopping criminals from committing acts of burglary, violence towards others or dealings concerned in the supply of class A drugs.

In this post, we’re going to detail the different types of detection technologies law enforcement use to prevent these crimes from happening.

What Detection Technologies Does Law Enforcement Use to Prevent Crimes?

Some of these technologies will be familiar to you and some you’ll have never heard of. Either way, here are the various detection technologies used by police forces every day to prevent crime:


Believe it or not, the tablet computers we all have access to are some of the most useful pieces of detection technology for law enforcement. Tablets allow police officers to look up photos of suspects and access other information from the crime database while on the go, helping them to prevent crime quickly.

These conveniences not only allow officers to easily detect criminals, but they also allow them to spend more time away from their desks and on the streets preventing crime.


Drone technology has become a cheaper alternative to using helicopters and helps to keep law enforcement officers out of harm’s way.

Police forces around the world use drones to:

  • Search for suspects
  • Obtain information and survey disaster areas
  • Track suspects in firearm incidents & counter-terrorism operations

This drone technology isn’t yet a staple of all law enforcement units but is being used actively in Devon and Cornwall in the UK and in Larimer County, Colorado to monitor crime and investigate fatal and serious accident scenes.

Telecoms Data

Telecom companies actively record data on all their users, making them a useful database for police forces to access.

Depending on the country, telecom companies could have customer’s call detail records, mobile phone usage, network equipment, server logs, billing, and social network activity logged. All this information can be used by police forces to map and track the connections and activities of a suspect.

In some countries such as Sweden, they even have guidelines and obligations for telecoms companies to work with police forces to help them stop crime.

Gunshot Detection Systems

New gunshot detection systems (GDS) are being implemented in some US cities to show police officers exactly where and when a gunshot was fired.

One GDS system, ShotSpotter, requires audio sensors to be placed around a neighbourhood to pinpoint and present the exact location of a gunshot.

This technology helps law enforcement officers respond quicker to gunshots, locate the scene of the crime, and track down suspects easily. Subsequently, it helps to improve neighbourhood safety in areas where there aren’t enough police on patrol.

Automatic License Plate Recognition

Automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) is helping law enforcement determine if vehicles are stolen and helps to catch the owners if they’re wanted.

ALPR consists of an integrated camera database technology that takes a picture of a car’s license plate. It processes the letters and numbers, compares them to license plate numbers in the police database, and alerts officers if that vehicle is wanted in any crimes.

Instead of a police officer having to manually check license plates themselves, ALPR can log and analyse license plates in record time. It takes a fraction of the time it would take an entire squad to manually complete and prevents countless crimes from ever taking place.

AI Remote Monitoring

ALPR systems have been around for a long time and have prevented a lot of criminal activity. However, new advancements in AI have pushed the boundaries of image recognition technology to detect much more than license plates.

Thanks to these recent advancements, it’s now possible to monitor camera footage remotely, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. AI technologies can detect and report suspicious activity that it has learned through the absorption of images of similar crimes.

What’s more, AI such as HunchLab can create a picture of crime patterns and trends and predict how likely a particular crime is to occur at various locations across a specific time period.

Essentially, these new AI technologies allow law enforcement to prevent crimes before they even happen.

Facial Recognition

Facial recognition is a more advanced version of license plate recognition except it’s able to detect a person’s face instead of just a few letters and numbers. The technology is by no means new, but machine learning has made it much more effective.

As with license plate recognition, AI software for facial recognition can instantaneously search databases of faces and compare them to one or multiple faces detected in a scene, making it incredibly easy to detect suspects in video footage.

These systems work at a 99.5% accuracy rate on public standard data sets, which means they can almost perfectly identify a criminal in footage of them committing a crime.

On top of this, facial recognition shows promise as a lie detector, using eye detection software and motion sensor technology to identify suspicious physical behaviour.

The Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) is already trialling recognition technology known as Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time (AVATAR) to help them determine whether travellers are entering the country legally.

Are These the Only Crime Detection Technologies Used by Law Enforcement?

In this post, we’ve shared many of the different types of detection technologies that law enforcement use to prevent crimes.

There are more technologies used in law enforcement, but most of the ones that show real promise are in the Artificial Intelligence sector. As the technology industry grows in complexity, so too will the technologies used to prevent crimes.

Written by Henry Roberts

Henry Roberts is a freelance writer specialising in corporate technology, with a particular interest in technological innovations in crime prevention and policing.

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