Picture this: an armed robbery at a convenience store in Burnaby, B.C. takes place with the assailant getting away scott-free. A video camera in the store captures an image of the suspect’s face, and a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officer arrives at the scene of the crime, digitally encodes the image of the suspect from the video and feeds it into a mobile unit mounted in the police cruiser.
Within 40 seconds, the robber is identified as a resident of Vancouver with two outstanding warrants and Canada’s finest spring into action, apprehending the wanted man.
Is this a scene out of a futuristic, sci-fi movie or reality? According to Vancouver-based Imagis Technologies, its software brings this futuristic scenario to fruition.
The Computerized Arrest and Booking System (CABS) software developed by Imagis, in conjunction with the RCMP, uses biometrics to measure 250 features of the human face and matches these points against an offender database to rapidly and accurately identify wanted individuals. To add credence to its mug-snatching prowess, CABS’ biometrics technology can also measure the pitches of the human voice, identify fingerprints and perform retina scans. To date, 30 RCMP detachments from B.C. to the Maritimes use CABS, with the Mounties’ Burnaby detachment earning the distinction of being the first to embrace the software six years ago.
“The RCMP came to us because they were having problems with booking arrested individuals who would not cooperate,” explained Iain Drummond, president and CEO of Imagis Technologies Inc. “The police take the facial image of that individual, and, using our software, match their image with the mugshots in their database.”