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Indigenous missing person and murder cases being run through Biometrica system

Indigenous missing person and murder cases being run through Biometrica system

A non-profit startup founded by a retired U.S. police sergeant is working with facial recognition firm Biometrica to find missing and murdered Indigenous people.

The problem that Native Search Solutions wants eradicated is an outsized one for Native American communities. Men, women and children are victimized by violence and crime, the same any community, but in some categories, Indigenous people are hit comparatively harder than other United States communities.

Collectively, the situation is referred to by the acronym MMIP, or missing and murdered Indigenous people. Native Search is finding the going rough.

Since its launch three years ago, according to Native News Online, the service has helped with searches for 57 families and found just two people.

Women in Native communities, for example, are 2.5 times more likely to be raped than women who are not Native, according to civil rights organization Amnesty International. Citing Center for Disease Control figures, Amnesty says murder is the third most common cause of death among Native American and Alaska Native women.

Mark Pooley, a retired officer from Tempe, Arizona, says he wants to stop the violence on Native lands or at least be able to hold more people accountable for it. He formed Native Search to put better data tools, including facial recognition algorithms, in the hands of law enforcement agencies investigating cases of missing and murdered Native people.

Some of the biometrics being used by Native Search comes from the software firm Biometrica Systems in Las Vegas. Biometrica and Native Search trade links to each other’s sites, and Biometrica participates in an MMIP investigative-resources fusion center led by Pooley.

Its facial recognition software works with UMbRa, Biometrica’s five-year-old police-sourced database of people who have at least contributed to the commission of a crime. With the software, according to Biometrica, investigators can “track crime and criminals.”

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