Local police are turning to information technology to help them combat a rising tide of petty theft in the city.
At the heart of the latest crime-fighting campaign is the “Big Data” system set up by the Shanghai Public Security Bureau. Providing officers with up-to-date information about all manner of felonious activity — including the personal details of known offenders, a geographical breakdown of the city’s crime hot spots and a log of stolen goods — the database has become an essential tool in keeping villains off the city’s streets.
In the year through March 20, Shanghai police handled 2,440 pickpocketing and purse-snatching cases, more than double the amount in the first three months of 2013. The number of people detained in the period rose more than 17 percent to 1,086, many of whom were members of the more than 100 crime gangs cracked in the quarter.
A police officer told Shanghai Daily that while crime numbers had risen, the increase was mostly due to the fact that police now have better access to information and are investigating more cases.
The Big Data system has helped to crack dozens of petty theft cases in recent months, an area that has been of key interest to the city’s police chiefs. Several successes were reported at a press conference last week.