Anything you tweet can and will be used against you in a court of law. At least, that’s what a new study proposes.
As Business Insider reports, researchers from the University of Virginia discovered that tweets can be used to predict certain types of crimes.
By analysing geo-located tweets, these researchers found that tweet were useful in predicting between 19 to 25 different types of crimes, including stalking, theft and assault.
Lead researcher, Matthew Gerber, says that people aren’t necessarily tweeting about crimes directly. Instead, they’re tweeting about environmental factors that could lead to a crime – such as a large group of people tweeting about getting drunk, a situation that could lead to crime.
By exploring geo-tagged tweets from Chicago neighborhoods and comparing these to the city’s crime database, the researchers were able to predict crime in the future. As the study explains:
“This approach allows the analyst to rapidly visualize and identify areas with historically high crime concentrations. Future crimes often occur in the vicinity of past crimes, making hot-spot maps a valuable crime prediction tool.”
The goal of the study is to build a model that can accurately predict, and ultimately reduce, crime around the world.
(Police line image via Shutterstock)