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Crime reduction: How AI and Digital can help

Digitalization was the beginning of the end for many types of criminal activities and it is expected that by 2030 most crimes will have been significantly reduced. Digitalization has many benefits that assist in preventing and solving crimes and includes DNA matching, AI automatic surveillance and face recognition.  It has also improved how information is digitally exchanged across the globe making it easier to catch criminals and allows for the analysis of criminal statistics on a global level.

However, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has also changed the way the consumer does business and spends, and it has brought many challenges and benefits, of which one of the most important is crime reduction.

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Digital currencies have reduced many financial criminal activities

Some countries have managed to become cash-free because of how they have successfully implemented digitalization into their banking systems. Scandinavia and Canada are the top two on the list where the use of cash instantly rings a warning bell that it may come from criminal activities or through undeclared labor.

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology have proven that digital currencies can be both functional and traceable. These are the benefits that central banks want to tap into by introducing their own digital currencies. Central bank-issued currencies (CBDC) will be traceable and it will be impossible for payments from criminal activities to be concealed.

Corruption and the kickbacks that are often received will be impossible to hide with CBDC as the money allocated for a publicly funded project can be programmed to only pay costs related to the project. CBDC will also put an end to money-laundering, transfers of funds to tax havens and white-collar crimes.

The introduction of electronic payments decreased the incidents of criminals targeting cash. The types of crimes have as criminals have managed to find methods to attack online stores, but since digital money is traceable criminals are now faced with new hurdles. The battle between criminals and policing requires that technology has to keep advancing as criminal minds manage to find gaps in the system.

Forgery and corruption are fought through digital identities

The introduction of digital government -issued identities by many countries has reduced the incidents of hacker attacks on their financial sectors. The reason is that these documents are not easy to forge or make changes to and digitally signed documents cannot be changed. Digitally signed documents can also be made confidential preventing unauthorised access to them and proof is also available when exactly they were signed.

Documents signed digitally from afar ensure that there is no contact with the civil servant and reduces the risk of bribery.

Most importantly, the World Economic Forum also recommends that businesses and governments involved in global trade should create a shared digital Global Trade Identity (GTID) to protect international trade documents from forgery.

 Theft of all items will be reduced

Everything that connects to the internet will now become impossible to steal. This will limit the market of stolen goods that flourished in the previous decades. Everything from washing machines to motor vehicles will now be traceable and even smart bulbs are connected. Everything functions on the same principle as a smartphone; as soon as it connects it becomes traceable or may become useless because it has been programmed to be used by a specific individual or at a certain geographical location.

What type of crimes will emerge from digitalization?

Crime may be reduced greatly but there are other areas that raise concern. Surveillance of individuals by companies and governments (often not just their own but foreign ones too) has become a contentious issue and new privacy laws are now being strictly enforced in most countries.

Hackers are finding ingenious ways of taking control of digital systems and then demand a ransom to release it. This can include a vehicle, a smart home and even an implanted life-saving medical device (at the detriment of the wearer if the ransom is not paid timely leading to what could be termed as cyber- homicide).

Smartphones are also vulnerable because even if funds cannot be extracted from accounts if it’s stolen, most people keep all their valuable information on it increasing its worth criminals.

Does crime stop here?

As the benefits of digitalization fight more crimes there is the hope that more traditional crimes will be eliminated. Money and time spent on solving them and fighting their outcomes in court will be saved. It is certain that digitalization will create better conditions in some countries where crime is currently a huge problem.


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