NeoFace recognition system, used by Chicago PD, catches an armed robber

Chicago police have invested time, effort and cash into a system which cross references criminal mug-shots with live CCTV feeds. The system, NeoFace by NEC, is in the news today for helping catch an armed robber at large in the windy city.

Pierre D Martin, 35, is the unlucky crook spotted by Chicago’s NeoFace program. He was seen on CCTV in two separate robbery incidents involving firearms last year. On the same day, February 9th 2013, he stole two mobile phones at gunpoint from victims riding Chicago trains.

NeoFace sends a real-time alert to security!

NeoFace sends a real-time alert to security!

NeoFace checked the CCTV video faces with a police database of 4.5 million previously convicted individuals, to pinpoint his identity. Martin’s previous convictions involved guns (again) and car theft. NeoFace can successfully identify individuals even when much of the video shows partly hidden features because of a hat, sunglasses or other obscuring factor.

There are 24,000 surveillance cameras tied to the police computer systems in Chicago now. So, this could be the start of a great flood of such computer detected convictions. The system cost $5.4 million, that’s not such a steep price for a large city.

This is not Pierre D Martin but just a model example

This is not Pierre D Martin, just a model example

With the success from the live feed showing its first dividends Chicago police are going to submit video evidence from cold cases to see if NeoFace can help with any leads. There are organisations which are concerned about the police storing and pondering over all this data though. The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois would rather the police only use the system for identifying people who when they had probable cause that person was involved in a crime. Meanwhile Chicago Police Cmdr. Jonathan Lewin tried to reassure the public that the NeoFace system would not be used for “random surveillance.”

Have a look at the NeoFace facial recognition promo video from NEC below.

Mark Tyson

Mark has worked for a number of years as a newshound on other technology news websites. He decided to write for Tech Assimilate thanks to this web site's open embracing vision of the fascinating world of personal technology. Mark has also worked in the printing and advertising industries for tens of years previously.

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