CCTV security systems could soon spot an assault on a bus before it happens, according to a major research project.
The system, part of which has already been tested in laboratory conditions, looks for suspicious behaviour associated with crime.
It would be able to send live CCTV pictures to operation rooms, from where controllers would be able to intervene.
The Queens University Belfast team say the software could make a significant impact on crime on transport.
Although much of the work is currently at the theoretical stage, the team from the university’s newly-founded Centre for Secure Information Technologies predict that within five years their software will be able to profile people as they board a bus.
The system would then compare who it thinks these people are, and what they are doing, with more general data on the bus’s location, time of day and historic crime rates.
Once it has sifted this data, it could be able to conclude whether someone is about to commit an assault and send live pictures to controllers.
Dr Paul Miller, head of the research project, said there were millions of CCTV cameras in the UK doing very little to fight crime.
“Their impact on anti-social behaviour and criminal behaviour is negligible – assaults on buses are a major problem and very little CCTV material is analysed in real-time,” he said.
Dr Miller said the 15-strong team were still developing initial databases to identify an individual’s gender and body shape.
Brilliant. And if the computer deems the person a sufficient threat, built in stun guns could zap them unconscious when they sit in the seat. If they do not sit, or if the person of a particular ethnicity reaches into his or her pocket to get some “gum”, for example, the computer could decide to shoot them in the head, killing them instantly with swivel mounted guns which would be built in to several locations on the bus. I feel so much safer.