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Exclusive: A look at Chennai Police’s proposed GIS mapping of crime zones and its dangers

Read how Chennai Police plans to track and map crime by sucking up data from emergency calls, IoT devices, and more.

You are reading it here first: In a move that's supposed to boost predictive policing but can lead to profiling of historically marginalised and vulnerable groups, the Tamil Nadu government has decided to conduct geographic information system (GIS) mapping of crime zones under the Chennai Safe City Project. The Greater Chennai Police, which has floated a tender for selecting a system integrator for constructing a GIS Centre and conducting GIS mapping, has said that the selected entity would — Conduct historic crime mapping for 5 years, from 2016 to 2020, on cases related to crime against women This data will help in analysing "hotspots/emerging hotspots' and spatially identifying different kind of crime trends based on various parameters The GIS platform will also keep an eye on social media for getting a "macro-level analysis of given location" based on keywords. Locations of CCTVs in Chennai will also have to be mapped into the system. From there, a police official can be able to view the footage of a CCTV by linking the system to the video management system (VMS). Agencies worldwide are using geospatial technologies for mapping crime, identifying crime hot spots, assigning officers, and profiling offenders. Spatial analysis is giving geographical context to real world incidents and helping police officials to create geographical profiling of offenders -- Greater Chennai Police in the tender Studies by researchers have shed light on the inherent biases in GIS mapping of crime zones and how they can end up targeting underprivileged sections of society.…

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Among other subjects, I cover the increasing usage of emerging technologies, especially for surveillance in India

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