Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Graffiti Code Breaker

             The article “The Graffiti Code Breaker” introduces a break through technology called GARI (Gang Graffiti Automatic Recognition and Interpretation). GARI is a software program that allows cops and investigators to track and trace graffiti patterns. This will allow them to find gang activity and minimize crime.
            Currently in the United States there around about 33,000 gangs hosting nearly 1.4 million members.  They “all use violence to control neighborhoods and boost their illegal money-making activities, which include robbery, drug and gun trafficking, fraud, extortion, and prostitution rings. (“Gangs”). Unfortunately gangs are all over the country, but only the state of Indiana has started using the GARI to solve the issue.
            I am personally a fan of the GARI concept because I think anything used to prevent crime is a necessity. Investigators are beginning to narrow down the area in which certain gangs are vandalizing. In order for the software to work it needs as many images of the graffiti as possible so it can make precise connections. I feel reassured that investigators are looking for new ways to solve reoccurring problems, and that they are trying to prevent problems rather than solving them after they occur.
            Although, there are a few flaws in this software. It is a fairly new program so it is hard to decipher if it is actually reliable. Also, there is hardly any online information about it. The program depends on investigators going into the field and taking pictures; but what if the pictures are blurry and hard to detect or the investigators do not take all the needed pictures. Then the accuracy is altered and investigators may find themselves looking in the wrong direction.
            Most gang members are not “stupid” when it comes to what they do best. If they are aware of the GARI, it would make sense that they would change up their graffiti colors, and patterns and refrain from using names or locations. It is easy for them to play head games with investigators and send them looking in the wrong direction. Then what? We are left back a square one.
            It also concerns me that Indiana is the only state to currently use the GARI. Why haven’t major cities such as Chicago (where there are the most recorded gangs) or New York City adopted this program? Their crime rate-- as a result from gangs-- has skyrocketed and something should be done about it. If these large cities are not willing to use the software program does that mean there are flaws about it we do not know of?

            It is hard to tell whether or not upcoming technology will succeed. When there are a lot of unanswered questions and very little information one can only make assumptions. I hope the GARI will be used in more cities to help prevent crime so ultimately the country is a safer place.

1 comment:

  1. The GARI is a compelling new software. This software could be implemented in all areas with strong gang presence, or with a graffiti problem. This software can be used to identify gang areas by analyzing the graffiti. Furthermore, this technology can be used to identify which gangs are where. This could be very useful information for the police departments. They could identify the major gang areas and take extra precautions to suppress the gang presence.
    This technology could also be used even further. If the police departments implemented the GARI for gang tattoos, they could identify individuals in a certain gang. If they see individuals with a tattoo that the system has identified as a gang tattoo, they will be able to identify this person as a gang member. This could help the police department make many more arrests and prevent a lot of violence.
    Though this would be a great thing to have in all cities it does have some flaws. Perhaps the cost is stopping many cities from buying this software. Some cities may make other crimes, such as murder and robbery, as a higher priority than graffiti. The law enforcement in these areas may want to use their budgets for other things to catch criminals. I believe in cities like Chicago, graffiti is not high on their crime priorities list. Furthermore, the police departments would have to train and pay technology experts to use and maintain the software. If the software malfunctions they will need someone on staff to fix the system.
    Some departments may think this software is unnecessary. If cops get enough information and know enough about gangs then they will be able to identify graffiti without the software. According to the Gang Education and Training Resource Guide, gang members are proud of their memberships and will flaunt it. The gangs will not need to hide their gang affiliation and will show it in their “tags”(graffiti). It doesn’t make sense for policemen to use this system to identify graffiti when they can just look at the symbols in most graffiti to see which gang made it. Furthermore, many gangs tag each other’s area as a sign of power and out of disrespect. Therefore gang boundaries will be very hard to identify even if you could identify the who made the graffiti.