In the film Minority Report crimes are stopped before they happen thanks to future predictions. That's becoming a reality as Berlin police start to test a software that predicts crimes before they occur.

This isn't quite at the movie level where people are being arrested before they commit crimes but it does offer police a glimpse into what may be. The result is that certain areas are flagged by the software at certain times when crime is likely to kick-off, so police can be nearby ready.

The Pre-Crime Observation System, or "Precobs", is being tested in the southern state of Bavaria at the moment. The system uses data like location, time and other factors of previous crimes to make the predictions. When a new incident is reported the system assimilates that data to find patterns and point to potential future targets.

The system was developed by the Institute for pattern-based Prediction Technique in Oberhausen and has so far been producing "promising" results from Munich and Nuremberg.

Singapore is using a similar system that incorporates CCTV video footage and electronic vision technologies to detect street incidents ahead of time.

The worry for some civil rights activists is that these systems may one day have access to personal data making them far too invasive. But if it stops crime, and you're not a criminal, would you mind? The Minority Report film paints a scary picture of what could happen should it all go wrong.

READ: The future of home security: Get ready for sensors and pro-active systems

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