Railways uses geo-tagging to nab criminals

Nabbing criminals

Railway passengers safety is highly dynamic and requires a prompt and swift response. A majority of the railway crime takes place at night. By the time a victim passenger realises the occurrence of the crime, usually the train already moves into the jurisdiction of another police station. Thus, railway crime investigation requires a high degree of data collation at least on a regional level. Considering the challenging circumstances, the Indian Railways has deployed geo-spatial technology that has been effectively used to solve this complicated issue.

The Madhya Pradesh Council of Science & Technology (MPCST) and the Madhya Pradesh GRP have developed web GIS-based applications for quick and effective crime investigation. It includes several modules such as call detail records (CDR) analysis, visitor location register (VLR) analysis, geo-tagged mapping of temporary hiding places of criminals. In addition, the application also has the photographs of these [hiding] places and attributes, digitisation of criminal records of notified criminals and geo-tagging of their known residences along with ground photographs, passenger reservation dump data analysis, mapping of railway tracks, stations, etc. All these tools are integrated onto a single platform known as crime investigation system.

The approach taken to develop this system is to optimally utilise the features of geo-spatial analysis. Spatial data layers are the backbone of geo-spatial analysis; therefore, the initial requirement was to digitise the criminal profiles of notified criminals, followed by the collection of geo-tagged data of their residences and current status. It was also required to collect the information about places near the railway stations, which are being used by criminals to hide temporarily after committing the crime. These places can be small tea or liquor shops, small hotels, lonely places in yards, etc. Basic layers such as railway tracks and railway stations, layer of mobile towers with specified coding to towers in the range of railway tracks, etc. were also created.

Mapping of VLR
VLR is the information of last location of any stolen mobile or Internet-compatible gadget. This information is overlaid on other GIS layers to correlate the suspected criminal. The VLR layer is symbolised by small green coloured square. By clicking the square, the reported incident details with VLR is displayed. As the criminal residences and hide places are mapped, it helps in narrowing down the criminal’s location and identity. In certain cases, this location is found in distant villages, which helps in identifying the criminal based on available criminal profiles.

Analysis of passenger reservation
It is often observed that many criminals also travel using reserved tickets. A module is designed to analyse the passenger dump of the train in which any crime incident is reported. The reservation data of the train on incident date is requisitioned from railway department and uploaded onto the system. Based on the master list created by GRP, suspect names based on the previous records supported by other information such as boarding and ending stations, age, etc., the system shortlists the suspected criminals who travelled in that train and provides clues for investigations.