New technological innovations have been developed to prevent crime and to improve the performance of the police, but we know remarkably little about how and why certain innovations are adopted, and the consequences –both intended and unintended—of technology-driven solutions to the problem of crime
There are two general types of technological innovations that can be identified: information-based technologies (which we will refer to here as soft technology) and material-based technologies (which we will refer to here as hard technologies).
oth types of technological innovation have been linked to “dramatic changes in the organization of police” (Reichard, 2001:1), particularly at the turn of the last century, while similar linkages can be offered to more general crime prevention strategies employed by individuals and groups of residents
nnovations in criminal justice technology can be divided into two broad categories: hard technology (hardware or materials) and soft technology (computer software, information systems).
Hard technology innovations include new materials, devices, and equip- ment that can be used to either commit crime or prevent and control crime.
We increasingly see hard technologies intended to prevent crime – the ubiquitous CCTV cameras, metal detectors in schools, baggage screening at airports, bullet proof teller windows at banks, and security systems at homes and businesses. Note also the use of personal protection devices (tasers, mace, lifeline/emergency call mechanisms) and ignition interlock systems with alcohol-sensor devices to prevent an individual from starting a car while intoxicated
Soft technologies involve the strategic use of information to prevent crime (e.g. the development of risk assessment, and threat assessment instruments) and to improve the performance of the police (e.g. predictive policing technology, and recording/video streaming capabilities in police vehicles). Soft technology innovations include new software programs, classification systems, crime analysis techniques, and data sharing/ system integration techniques.