3VR Security Inc. announced today that it has acquired Amcrin Corporation, best known for its CrimeDex networked database of criminals. The move gives 3VR, a developer of searchable surveillance systems, the ability to directly integrate the CrimeDex database into 3VR product solutions. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
According to Tim Ross, 3VR's executive vice president of sales and marketing, 3VR had been integrating Amcrin's product into their systems for a few months, and the acquisitions just made sense.
"We had been doing integrations with them for the past several months, and we just saw the synergies with them in terms of our partners and our mission, and obviously the products were very complementary to each other," Ross said. "
The CrimeDex database is networked and web-driven to provider alerts and updates in addition to a comprehensive database with upwards of 10,000 criminals and suspects in ongoing investigations. The "watch list" nature of the database means that updates are made daily and are overseen by specialized CrimeDex analysts to ensure that correct information is being provided.
While Amcrin and 3VR are tight-lipped on the names of actual clients, Ross notes that more than 300 banks and retail institutions are using the database, in addition to 172 law enforcement agencies and 24 federal agencies in the areas of drug enforcement, prosecution, border control, homeland security and other investigative areas.
The system is getting much of its initial attention in areas like check fraud, counterfeiting and money laundering in the banking sector, as well as fraud and organized theft in the retail world, though the system has obvious implications for visitor management and client checks at a number of "open doors" types of organizations like schools and transportation facilities.
The CrimeDex database is designed to provide complete information on the criminals, and it can contain info on known crimes, photos of the suspect, aliases and other vital information.
That ability to link photos of criminals and suspected criminals to existing video surveillance, said Ross, is where the teeth of this acquisition stands.
"CrimeDex had been doing a great job of bringing these databases together, but what changes with 3VR's integration is that for the first time, this type of crime-fighting network can be integrated and automated with the surveillance systems," Ross said. "It's integrated in that it can share images from a surveillance system, and automated in the sense that alerts aren't just generated from around things like names and aliases, but also around the biometric identity of these individuals."
Having that facial data gives 3VR, which has pushed into the realm of facial recognition, a leg up on enabling this coming-of-age biometric facial recognition technology to be used at more clients.
The challenge, as Ross noted, was that facial recognition systems could be put into place, but it could take months and months for an organization to be able to build their own in-house database of individuals to look for. With access to a networked database like CrimeDex, he says, they no longer have to wait to populate that database. They also now have the ability to offer regionally shared watch lists.