Real Minority Report? Hitachi unveils technology that predicts crimes before they happen

© Luke Macgregor
The Sci-Fi predicted future of crime prevention is here. Hitachi has unveiled a system capable of predicting crimes before they actually occur.

Dubbed Hitachi Visualization Predictive Crime Analytics (PCA), the system is able to process huge amounts of data from a variety of sources and then process it using machine-learning to establish patterns of potential violent behavior that humans might simply overlook.

“A human just can’t handle when you get to the tens or hundreds of variables that could impact crime,” Darrin Lipscomb, an executive in Hitachi’s Public Safety and Visualization division, told the Fast Company.

READ MORE: Rise of the machines: Hitachi joins robot race to dismantle Fukushima ruins

Hitachi acquired the technology after purchasing two crime monitoring tech companies – Avrio and Pantascene – in September 2014.

PCA uses real-time social media and internet data feeds to make calculations and pin-point potential crime scenes down to a 200-square-meter spot. The system also allocates relative threat levels to every situation.

The technology is a cloud-based platform that uses data and video assets from public safety systems, such as emergency dispatches, license plate readers, gunshot sensors, even social media accounts to present them geospatially.

READ MORE: Hitachi buys UK nuclear project for more than $1 bln

“Blending real-time event data captured from public safety systems and sensors with historical and contextual crime data from record management systems, social media and other sources, PCA's powerful spatial and temporal prediction algorithms help law enforcement and first responder teams assign threat levels for every city block,” the company said in a statement.

Hitachi’s system is scheduled for trials at police departments across a number of US cities starting in October.