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Crime Fighting ideas

Requested in Society & Politics by a contributor
edited by Dreamer

20 Ideas

+3 votes
Help - I'm Being Stolen

A silent alarm for your body.

This invention would simply be a silent alarm built into your belt that could be activated by pushing a piece on it a pre-determined number of times within a short time span. It would be easier to use than a cellphone, where you'd have to ask your attacker to hold on a minute while you dialed 911, but share a cellphone's ability to be located to within a 50 foot area while in use.
Shared by JFR (6,080 points)

+2 votes
The Visiting Cop Company

Filling in the gap during vacations.

For those of us who have teenagers at home who are old enough to stay at home by themselves when we go on vacation there's currently a patchwork of steps we can take to guard against unexpected house party events. You tell the neighbors you'll be gone and make it their responsibility, you can hook up your PC to one of those little wireless robots that can roam around the house and then be tempted to keep checking on what they're seeing all during your vacation, or you could ask the police (in rural areas) to check up on the house now and then.

The Visiting Cop Company would give you another alternative. Policemen already pick up extra money working off-duty shifts for concert events and the such - this would just give them a single point of entry into a system where they'd be assigned houses to check on a random basis while the owners are off on vacation. From the homeowners point of view it would give them a dependable resource they could just call and pay for 'x' number of days of protection. Just the random factor alone would keep a lot of teenagers from risking a party.
Shared by a contributor
+1 vote
Locating Lazy Witnesses

Studies have shown there's a direct relationship between the number of people who witness something and the number who step forward to help - the higher the number of people the less the chance that someone will offer to help. One explanation suggested for this is that if there are a lot of people around then we tend to think that someone else is already going to help.

We could take advantage of the current state of cell phone technology to help offset that misguided assumption. Since the location of cell phones in use can now be easily tracked we should allow people to join a mobile neighborhood watch when they buy a phone. That way if something happens, an accident, carjacking, bank robbery, etc. a system could track down all of the cell phones that were in use at the time near the area concerned so the police could call those numbers to see if anyone saw anything of any use. It would greatly increase the odds of finding witnesses. The system could even be used to broadcast recorded messages to phones in an area where a child has just been reported abducted to increase the chance of finding them (similar to the Amber Alert system used on highways in the US).
Shared by a contributor
+1 vote

fMRI Polygraph

Studies are already being done to see if an MRI can detect lies any better than the traditional polygraph (which doesn't do a very good job of it). These studies are all testing the reactions to spoken questions though. An easier way, based on the latest findings, would be to ask nothing and just watch their reactions to pictures. The logic behind this approach is based on a recent study where people without any background in physics were shown a picture of two balls falling to the ground, a very large one and a small one. When the big ball appeared to be falling faster than the smaller one, the error-correcting portion of the brain didn't light up (contrary to reality, this was what the test subjects expected to happen). When a picture was shown with the balls falling at the same rate, the error-correction neurons fired up because the subjects thought something was amiss. People familiar with physics didn't react the same way.

So here's how it would work using crime scenes. Suspects would be shown pictures of the crime scene but a single detail in each of them would be radically altered (the blond turned into a redhead for example). Only that single detail would be different in the pictures. The error-correcting neurons wouldn't fire up in the brains of the innocent because they wouldn't have any idea of what the crime scene looked like to be begin with. The criminal on the other hand would realize something was wrong and his error-correcting neurons would fire up to resolve the discrepancy. It would be easy to find the top suspect this way without asking a single question.

The following is an excerpt from an article in a magazine called New Scientist that gave rise to this idea.

Why is physics so difficult?

Kevin Dunbar, a cognitive scientist at Dartmouth University in Hanover, New Hampshire, and his colleagues scanned the brains of students while they watched a video demonstrating either classical Newtonian physics, in which a large and a small ball fall to the ground at the same speed, or the naive scenario, in which the larger ball drops faster.

Those who had never studied physics showed activity in a part of the brain associated with error processing when they watched the Newtonian model, implying they thought there was something wrong with what they were watching. But the naive model sparked activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, normally active when someone thinks about a theory accepted as correct. Students of physics showed the opposite patterns, though even they had some prefrontal activity when watching the naive model, indicating they were still attached to this false but intuitive notion.

Substitute the words 'guilty' and the 'innocent' in place of non-physics and physics students and you've got this idea.

Shared by a contributor
+1 vote
Peg Leg Prisoner Control - Decreasing violence via joint cuffs...

Whenever a new prisoner entered the prison system he or she would be outfitted with a new kind of cuff. A ring near the ankle would be narrow enough to keep it from being slipped off, and a ring above the knee would hold the other end of two metal rods attached to the lower ring. The combination of rods and rings would force the inmates to walk peg leg style, thus stopping them from running around and kicking other inmates/staff. The same kind of cuffs would run from the wrist to the elbow. One of these cuffs would have a keyed joint though so it could be unlocked as needed for dining or bathroom breaks (the keyed cuff should be put on the arm that the patient doesn't normally use, further decreasing their punching power). The rings on all of the cuffs could be moved up or down a few inches and snapped in different positions so sores wouldn't develop.

Picture a prison full of young Forrest Gumps and you'd have a pretty close approximation of this idea.
Shared by TRK (1,600 points)
+1 vote
Mobile Restraining Orders

Here in the U.S. a judge typically issues a restraining order telling a stalker that he has to stay 'x' distance away from the complainant. The stalker says sure and off he goes. A lot of times this results in the complainant being attacked again, or in extreme cases, murdered. Why? Because the stalker simply lied. It might be smarter for us to put the stalker on mobile house arrest.

Under this system they would wear the same kind of ankle bracelet that people under normal house arrest wear, only it wouldn't go off when they left the house. Instead, its companion device (a fashionable watch, cellphone, etc.) worn by the protected person would go off if the stalker entered the forbidden zone (calculated by the GPS distance between the two devices). The complainant could then choose to press an override button so the police weren't called, or they could do nothing and a call would automatically be placed to 911. The stalker's device could be designed to emit a warning when he came within twice the distance the law allowed (for example, at 200 yards if the restraining order was for 100 yards). That way he'd be warned to back off. For example, if he happened to get the warning just as he was entering a theater he'd have to walk away, eating the price for the show. That would just be part of the price he paid for being a stalker (and a much lower price than he made the victim pay in the past). After he'd been a good boy for a reasonable amount of time and the restraining order was lifted he could go back to seeing any show he wanted without fear of wasting the 100 bucks.

Note: As in all things, a certain amount of judgment should be applied. A woman being released from the hospital after being treated for a severe beating would be able to make a much better case for one of these mobile restraining orders than a woman who said her boyfriend just gave her a dirty look. (And no, the man who beat the first woman wouldn't necessarily be safely locked away in a jail cell for her protection - it's much more likely that he'd be out on bail in the US).
Shared by JFR (6,080 points)
0 votes
After-The-Fact Security

Nullifying the advantage of stolen uniforms.

There was an article in the paper the other day noting that 1000 Canadian security uniforms and badges had been stolen and some of them were showing up for sale on eBay. There's an easy way to make them useless to terrorists and the like - just sew RFID tags into the remaining uniforms and put scanners at the entrances to secure areas. If someone tried to go through without a tag, or they'd sewn their own tag in with a number that didn't match one of those on a secure database, then an alarm would be sound. They make these tags strong enough to go through sterilizers now so there wouldn't be much chance that they'd get damaged in a washing machine or dryer (that's how they track reusable surgical gowns now).
Shared by a contributor
0 votes
Not everyone is cut out for the thug life. Even the gangstas will admit this. There are always little brothers, little sisters, sons, or daughters who don't have what it takes. Some of these kids are extremely smart though and could succeed in another environment. They could make a sort of safety zone for nerds.

Here's how it would work. The leaders of each gang would be given the chance to send any of their younger brothers or sisters (who qualified with a minimum IQ) to a new school in that zone. There would be several houses in the zone for these kids to live in while they were going to school there and each house would be staffed by one or more of the grandparents who came from the same area (giving the old folks a source of income). Both the school and the houses would be surrounded by high walls for protection from drive-by shootings. Their bros in the gangs could visit whenever they wanted with the understanding no weapons or fights would be allowed inside the compound. Part of the sales pitch to the gang members would be that by letting their bros and sistas get an education and a way out of poverty they could then move their mothers to a better neighborhood down the road once they were out of it themselves and earning a good living. Sounds more than a little idealistic but it might work.
Shared by JFR (6,080 points)
0 votes
You're Really a Kid

Stopping one form of identity theft.

One of the more recent trends in identity theft in the US is stealing kids' social security numbers and using them to commit various types of fraud. Since the IRS already collects social security numbers and children's ages on tax forms it would be easy enough to scrape that information from their files and build a database of parent-child relationships that credit card companies, banks, etc. could use when verifying things like new accounts and purchases. If a two-year old tried to buy a Lexus you'd know you either had a problem on your hands or a very gifted child. As a special bonus from the government, the parents of children whose ID numbers have had search hits against them could be sent a report once a year showing when the inquiries took place and who made them.
Shared by TRK (1,600 points)
0 votes
Poker "tells" computer-based body scanning polygraph system

Pretty much what it sounds like. A computer would continuously scan a person who's being asked questions, some of which are patently false, and then checks to see if there are any tells associated with a question when the truth or falsity of the answer is not known yet.
Shared by a contributor
0 votes
Genetically Modified Drug Crops

If we really want to cut down on illegal drug traffic then we should stop burning the fields and start air-dropping seeds over the farms. The seeds would be genetically modified ahead of time to make the plants possess an adverse side effect. We would, in a sense, pollute the crop. People would be a lot less likely to take something if they couldn't be sure one of its side effects was to give any man who took them huge breasts (or some other unpleasant attribute).
Shared by a contributor
0 votes

Sprinkler Security System (tagging prowlers for easier identification)

When motion sensitive lights are activated by a prowler they usually run away (or walk if they're smart). Any police in the area would have a hard time proving the person walking down the street was the prowler unless someone called them with an extremely accurate description. One solution would be to enhance The Fertigator with a remote trigger so it could turn on the sprinklers and tag the prowler with a unique scent. The system could be set up so the either homeowner could manually trigger it (thus avoiding false alarms) or motion would trigger it (like security lights are now). This would save the police a lot of extra work and catch a few extra criminals.

Shared by TakeFive (8,280 points)
0 votes
They should have a strip of one-way mirrors inside stores that are robbed often. An armed guard could be hiding on the other side of them. Then a potential thief couldn't take people in the store hostage. He might know the guard was in there somewhere but the robber wouldn't know which mirror he was behind.
Shared by Ibis1 (260 points)
0 votes
Skateboard lock to keep yours from getting stolen when the place won't let you bring it. Hooks on to the bearings and around any pole.
Shared by Power Bug (220 points)
0 votes
Build security gates into the door frames at libraries and bookstores. That would make it harder for customers to circumvent the security system and steal books. It'd also look better.
Shared by bookkm (140 points)
0 votes
In cities like Boston there are big campaigns to encourage citizens to report crimes by texting police. All cities should have this. Just don't be a dumbass and do it while you're driving.
Shared by wearley26 (680 points)
0 votes
Seems like all interrogation rooms on TV are the same. You wonder if they could have some psychologists run experiments and create a new standard design for them that would subconsciously put suspects more at ease and make them more likely to spill their guts and be truthful. If experiments prove the new setup to be more effective roll it out across the country.
Shared by thinkagain (7,340 points)
0 votes
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Shared by a contributor
0 votes
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Shared by lousnelson (500 points)
0 votes
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