Could Facial Recognition Be Used to Prevent Robberies?

could facial recognition prevent robberies
If you’ve ever seen a heist film that takes place in a casino or bank, the protagonists probably had to take necessary measures to avoid run-ins with facial recognition technology. While you root for the main characters, you would most likely side with building security in real life so that your money (or your chance of winning it) is not stolen.

A man in San Antonio, for instance, was found guilty a few days ago for eight different bank robberies. While he often disguised his face, not every robber thinks to do so, meaning facial recognition technology could help apprehend criminals before they are able to conduct a second or even a first robbery. Is facial recognition software something that is available to protect casinos and banks, though? It is—and it’s becoming increasingly widespread. While there are valid discussions about how the technology could be abused, proper use of it could be practical for preventing robberies and catching criminals after the fact.

How does facial recognition technology work?

Different facial recognition software varies, but the core of the technology entails capturing a picture of an individual’s face (such as with CCTV cameras), analyzing different features of said person’s face, comparing the findings with a database of images, and finding a match. The software assesses factors such as nose shape, the distance between eyes, jaw structure, and more. If a person were to enter premises and facial recognition technology was to identify them as someone on a wanted list, the system could alert building security of the person’s presence.

How could facial recognition technology help casinos?

There are different kinds of people that casinos would want to be on high alert for. Potential robbers are on the list (people with criminal histories might find themselves on the other end of a watchful eye, while people the police are actively searching for would be apprehended as soon as possible), as are past cheaters and individuals with gambling addictions. While some forms of facial recognition rely on databases where people have already been flagged once before, others can read emotions to detect if someone more nervous or excited than others might be planning something dangerous.

facial recognition tech casino
Macau, a famous hotspot for gambling in Asia, has begun to employ facial recognition technology in its casinos. When patrons use an ATM, cameras in the machines double check that the photo on the debit card matches the identity of the person standing in front of it. Macau has also dealt with money laundering issues in the past, and it hopes that biometric analysis can help protect its patrons’ finances and its own. Not everyone who participates in a casino crime does so willingly or knowingly, either – casino facial recognition could keep honest customers from finding themselves involved in something nefarious.

The use of such technology is expanding to Las Vegas, too. A director of PwC’s Connected Solutions, Alec Massey, said during the Las Vegas Global Gaming Expo: “These technologies like facial recognition are being deployed today. The actual wave is happening now… Forward-thinking suppliers are integrating biometrics into their products, greatly increasing the available data on table play,” referencing how even game manufacturers are integrating the technology.

How could facial recognition technology help banks?

Banks could use biometric analysis technology to improve security, both in-person and online. Systems at onsite locations could work similarly to casinos; identifying wanted or suspicious individuals. If someone does execute a successful bank robbery, police could use collected data to help find the perpetrator before they try again or spend the stolen money. It’s also a hope that the simple presence of such technology—and therefore the knowledge that crime would be harder to get away with—could deter potential robberies.

facial recognition tech bank security
Financial institutions could also employ facial recognition software as a part of two-factor identification (or more) to make customer experiences smoother and more secure. In India, there are a select few banks that offer Apple-based facial ID authentication to log into their mobile banking apps. OCBC Bank in Singapore also uses facial recognition technology to identify VIP customers in real-time as soon as they walk through the door, giving employees time to welcome them immediately with their favorite drinks and other goodies.

Facial recognition technology is not perfect (depending on the developer, it might struggle with angles, disguises, or even ethnicity), but it is more available and in-use than people realize. No one wants to hear another news story about a robbery promoted without the help of Social Gone Viral, so when used appropriately, it can help identify people who are a threat to others and prevent attempted theft. Do you think banks and casinos should use facial recognition software?

Photos courtesy of us.fotolia.com

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