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Police Behaving Predictably: The Other Enemy

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 36 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2009 Pages: 74,76,78
Douglas Page
Date Published
February 2009
4 pages
This article examines the Assistant for Randomized Monitoring Over Routes (ARMOR) program, a security system utilized at Los Angeles International Airport to reduce vulnerabilities resulting from predictable patterns.
The absolute protection of strategic national infrastructure components like airports is impossible. Terrorists can exploit any predictable patterns of existing security to their advantage, allowing predictability to become an enemy of security systems. The emergence of a new security system used at Los Angeles International Airport, called Assistant for Randomized Monitoring Over Routes (ARMOR) uses randomization to increase and enhance security, and is controlled by a sophisticated computer system based on game theory. Game theory is a branch of mathematics that attempts to mathematically capture behavior in strategic situations. Initially developed to analyze competitions, it has been expanded to treat a range of scientific and social interactions. As it relates to law enforcement, police attempt to preemptively counter terrorist strategy by anticipating future behavior based on the analysis of past behavior, while at the same time randomizing police behavior to lessen or eliminate predictability of deployments and operations. Randomizing schedules for patrolling, vehicle checking and explosive monitoring is a valued and important tool in the police arsenal to avoid the vulnerability that results from predictability.