FREEZE! Busted by the Fridge. The ways that tech influences writing fiction, making movies, and busting criminals.
One interesting investigation I had was that of a murder-for-hire in one city that the suspect used a Google search to find the victim’s home address in another city. Simple enough crime to plan. Google the name, find the address, do the hit. Except in this particular case, although the suspect Googled the correct name, there were two people with the same name in the same city and he picked the wrong one. I called this case my “Sarah Connor” case.
Fortunately, we intercepted the hit before it happened and prevented a random murder on the wrong person (as well as preventing the murder of the ‘right’ person). In a basic sense, the suspect used the technology of one of the most advanced computer systems in the world (Google….) to attempt a murder only to choose the wrong name in a Google search hit. This type of criminal incompetence and carelessness is commonplace. It is also the way that most get caught.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have Hollywood’s version of high tech crime fighting. Minority Report with Tom Cruise showed us that not only can crimes be solved with technology, but that crimes can also be prevented with technology. As for the technology used in the movie, it could have only been more accurate had a predictive analysis computer system been used in place of the fortune-telling humans (“Precogs”) in a big bathtub.
In a turn-key surveillance system, no person is anonymous. Whether it is a private business or government agency, no one is immune from potentially being watched, tracked, or reported. Private businesses use facial recognition for both improving customer service by detecting your mood through facial expressions as well as preventing crime.
Criminals who try to avoid using technology are severely limited on the type of crimes they can commit. That’s a good thing. A drug dealer without a cell phone is like a taxi cab driver without a taxi. It is part of the business and can be tracked, traced, monitored, intercepted, and forensically examined. Technology is a natural and required part of any criminal’s operations. Criminals not using technology are ineffective as criminals, for the most part....