Matching sketches with criminal`s mug shots now faster

Nabbing criminals just became easier. Researchers have developed a set of algorithms that can automatically match hand-drawn facial sketches to mug shots of criminals stored in databases.

Last Updated: Mar 05, 2011, 13:36 PM IST

Washington: Nabbing criminals just became easier. Researchers have developed a set of algorithms that can automatically match hand-drawn facial sketches to mug shots of criminals stored in databases.

Michigan State University professor of computer science Anil Jain and doctoral student Brendan Klare developed these algorithms.
"We`re dealing with the worst of the worst here. Police sketch artists aren`t called in because someone stole a pack of gum," said Klare, the journal IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence reports.

"A lot of time is spent generating these facial sketches so it only makes sense that they are matched with the available technology to catch these criminals," adds Klare, according to a Michigan statement.

Typically, artists` sketches are drawn by artists based on witnesses account. Unfortunately, Klare said: "Often the facial sketch is not an accurate depiction of what the person looks like."

The MSU project is the first large-scale experiment matching operational forensic sketches with photographs and, so far, results have been promising.

"We improved significantly on one of the top commercial face-recognition systems," Klare said.
"Using a database of more than 10,000 mug shot photos, 45 percent of the time we had the correct person."

All of the sketches used were from real crimes where the criminal was later identified.

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