Minority Report might not be one of Steven Spielberg’s very famous movies, but it sure does throw some light on what crime prevention could do to our society.  For the uninitiated, it is about a movie in which how the crimes are being prevented by an organization which has access to the future through 3 people who can see the future in their dreams.  They call it pre-crime. A few hours to days before an actual incident / crime is supposed to happen one or more of the 3 people dreams about it which the Pre-crime team taps from their brains and watches it on a regular LCD screen. Well, that needs some technological breakthrough to achieve what Mr. Spielberg has envisioned – to see through the dreams of people and project it on screen.

But one of the good things that the movie was able to show was how the pre-crime team was able to bring down the crime rates because of being able to act before an event has occurred and also how in general the crimes decrease because of the fear of getting caught. Proof of the same has been seen worldwide with industries as diverse as insurance companies’ to pharmaceutical companies’ bottom lines being positively affected by the fear of getting caught.

In 1994, an American Company created a tracking system for cars which was remotely enabled by the owner of the car if and when the car was stolen. This system was initially adopted in Texas, US and was initially very successful in tracking cars and putting the culprits behind the bar. But slowly the total number of culprits that were caught drastically came down. This was not because the thieves could do something with the tracking system to prevent them from being caught, but it was generally because thieves, who were initially targeting cars to earn a quick buck, understood that it was not too smart to vanish with a car since the stakes were too high and hence they had to either migrate to other states or generally look at other opportunities.  This in effect created a very positive bottom line for insurance companies as they had to settle with very few stolen car cases in the state of Texas.

As per Forrester Feb 2013 report the conservatively estimated loss of banks, worldwide due to fraud is anywhere between USD 10 Billion to USD 12 Billion. It is also estimated that the total percentage of frauds from within the bank is anywhere between 15% & 35%.  One of the reasons the internal frauds are so high is because there are really no effective fraud prevention (pre-crime like) products in the market. Most of today’s so-called fraud prevention products are actually at best end-of-day reports / post-facto analysis algorithms. Also there are few products in today’s market which makes it difficult for a possible perpetrator to get through, but then again it cannot identify a possible crime from happening or probably predict a crime which could have happened.

This is where a pre-crime like product or algorithm can make the difference. Firstly, it will be able to catch possible frauds and fraudsters before the crime actually takes place. Secondly, it prevents any further frauds because the fraudsters would not dare to take a chance on a system which can predict their moves. For effective reduction of internal frauds we need pre-crime like products. A true to its word fraud prevention product and not a post-facto, end-of- day report on the what would have been stories.

But, one of the best things about the movie is to show how a person who has in-depth knowledge about the pre-crime system manipulates the system to work in his favor. More on this in my next post. Till then, do let me know your views on envisioning such banking systems that would sense and prevent fraud even before the fraud event occurs. Would love to hear from you.

– By Michael Lawrence









Michael Lawrence is Implementation Lead – BAS at CustomerXPs. He can be reached at clari5@customerxps.com

CustomerXPs offers real-time, intelligent products that empower banks with instant insights enabling influenced outcomes of deeper customer engagement and fraud-free transactions. Learn more about CustomerXPs Clari5

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