Tokyo police will soon start taking 3D mugshots of suspects to make identification easierBy Rob Thubron
Crime fighting technology is becoming ever more advanced, but one area that hasn't changed much since it was first used in the 1840s - only a few years after the invention of photography - is the mugshot. Now, however, the process of photographing a suspect may change, as police in Tokyo, Japan, will soon be taking 3D mugshots of people taken into custody.
Starting in April this year, all 102 of Tokyo's Metropolitan Police Department stations will have 3D cameras that take images from three different directions while the suspect's face is lit up with striped lighting, creating a 3D effect. This will be in addition to the standard 2D mugshot.
The 3D mugshots will be stored in a database and used to make identifying suspects easier. When someone is caught on a CCTV camera, for example, their face may be tilted or the image may have bad lighting, making them hard to identify using traditional 2D mugshots. With these 3D images, police can manipulate and adjust the model in order to create a more accurate comparison.
Speaking to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, a senior police officer said: "As we can identify the suspects more quickly and accurately, our arrest rate is expected to become greater."
Even though Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, the country is beefing up its national security systems ahead of this year's Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Should the 3D mugshots prove to be a helpful tool in fighting crime, we may eventually see the cameras appearing in police stations across the world.