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How Do Security Cameras Recognize Criminals?

Mike Josh Ward

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One of the latest security technologies being developed is facial recognition software. Initial research in the field was started in the 1960's; however it has not been in widespread use until recently. Faster computer processing speeds, Wi-Fi networks, wireless security cameras, better bandwidth, and greater storage capacity are major contributors to its realization. Today massive amounts of data can be stored in linked databases, and quickly searched with ever improving algorithms. Cameras take super sharp images focusing and zooming in on targets hundreds of feet away. All these systems joined anywhere anytime with Wi-Fi and broadband networks give law enforcement an incredible crime fighting advantage.

How does this technology work? Security cameras first observe a scene determine the presence and locations of faces. Programs analyze pixels looking for two eyes a nose and a mouth. Individual faces can then be isolated from the background and the program determines the orientation of the face. The system works best when the target is directly in front of observing cameras, but most systems can acquire a match at angles up to 35 degrees; beyond that facial features are difficult to analyze. Unique facial characteristics are compared such as the peaks and valleys, distance between the eyes, nose shape, cheekbones, and jaw line and checked against known terrorists and criminals already on file.

No system is without flaws. Facial expressions will reduce the chances of acquiring a match. Other methods being incorporated, such as 3D modeling and texture analysis would greatly increase accuracy. With 3D modeling the program would create a virtual relief of the person. Looking at three dimensional contours of the face a match can be made even at a 90 degree angle. Texture analysis takes a close look at features of the skin, such as pores, lines, and textures. This technology is so good it can even sort out identical twins.

Police departments are relying on biometric technologies such as these more now than ever. Hidden cameras are far superior to human observers. People make mistakes, get bored, and are prone to distraction. These cameras networks can analyze 1000's of passerby's everyday and compare them to a much larger database of suspected terrorist and criminals than humanly possible. The fact that most systems utilize wireless security cameras makes them highly adaptable and scalable. Police can reposition, add, and remove cameras to acquire any angle in any location on a daily basis.

About the Author: Mike Ward is the owner and operator of Protection Depot, a leading online provider of security cameras and digital video recorder systems. For more information about security cameras, please visit Protection Depot.


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