Dutch Police are using artificial intelligence to crack unsolved cases, according to The Next Web.
The national police force is working to digitize the more than 1,500 reports and 30 million pages of material in its cold case archive, only 15 percent of which is currently stored electronically. (The Dutch police defines a cold case as any case since 1988 that carries a jail sentence for over 12 years and has gone unsolved for at least three years.) Once the transfer is complete, a machine learning algorithm will begin combing through the records and deciding which cases have the most promising evidence, reducing case processing time from weeks to a single day.
“We’re teaching the machine to do forensic screening,” Jeroen Hammer, one of the architects of the system, told The Next Web. “The goal is that the AI can read cold cases we’re currently digitizing, and decide which ones contain promising evidence that could lead to solving the case.”
The AI will rank cases by “solvability” and highlight possible DNA evidence in cases. The team plans to expand the automated analysis to other forms of forensic evidence, and potentially even non-forensic data like social sciences and witness statements.
In the future, Hammer also hopes to make an API available to partners who want to participate in investigations. “At the moment there are very few people who are doing this, and no one with cold cases, as far as I know,” he told The Next Web. “There are in fact police officers who have a yearly reminder in their Outlook calendar to call the national forensic institute to ask them if they have any new ways to analyze evidence.”
The AI-powered cold case analyzer is the brainchild of Q, a division of the Dutch police that endeavors to address investigative pain points with innovative solutions. One of its first successes is the Cold Case calendar, which recruits inmates in penitentiaries to supply tips that might help solve crimes.
“Systems like this will allow us to do much more in future, such as seeing connections between cases,” investigations specialist Roel Wolfert told the Dutch news organization NOS. “It may be we can apply it to live cases too.”