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Security Robots Expand Across U.S., with Few Tangible Results

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Pedestrians pass a Knightscope Inc. K5 security robot on Wall Street near the New York Stock Exchange.

As more government agencies and private sector companies resort to robots to help fight crime, the verdict is out about how effective they are in actually reducing it.

Credit: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Concrete proof that security robots are reducing crime is lacking, despite wider deployment by U.S. government agencies and the private sector.

Despite claims that its robots "predict and prevent crime," U.S. security robot supplier Knightscope cites little public evidence that its products work, or specific cases of crimes they have foiled; its clients are similarly unaware of how effective the robots are.

Huntington Park, CA's police department deployed a K5 model from Knightscope to patrol a local park; Huntington Park chief of police Cozme Lozano said in the two years since the robot’s deployment, it was most useful in recording evidence of “robot tipping and vandalism against the robot itself.”

Law enforcement and legal experts say demonstrating that a given piece of technology clearly results in a reduction in crime is difficult, with American University's Andrew Ferguson calling crime-fighting robots an "expensive version of security theater."

From NBC News
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