The internet of things (IoT) is bringing about many science-fiction style developments. A number of innovative industrial IoT (IIoT) companies are now supporting law enforcement with a host of new smart city technologies.
Predpol “the predictive policing company” is providing law enforcement agencies with customized crime predictions for the places and times that crimes are most likely to occur. Using just three data points - past type, place and time of crime – PredPol created a unique algorithm to analyze criminal behavior patterns, which they say can then be used to accurately predict the time and location future criminal activities.
“Predictive policing and the Technology Innovation Center have become banner programs for the Atlanta Police Foundation and have aided in significant crime reduction and prevention over the past year. We are helping to position the Atlanta Police Department as a national leader in cutting edge, technology-based policing solutions,” states Dave Wilkinson, President and CEO, Atlanta Police Foundation.
Statistics have long played a role in law enforcement, now the masses of crime data collected over the years is being given a new lease of life through big data analytics. If actually accurate, predictive policing can fundamentally change the way law enforcement reacts, or proacts, to illegal and dangerous activities, making our smart cities safer. That is until “smart” criminals start using this data to avoid “smart” police.
Another innovative law enforcement technology uses selectively placed microphones to identify gunshots and alert local police. Shot Spotter’s wide area protection system identifies the full range of “impulsive sounds” (sounds which are explosive in nature) found in urban weaponry, from sub and supersonic impulses to explosions. With this real-time information police can rush to the scene with appropriate force and log incidents to better understand the distribution of guns in their city.
In 2015 alone, there were 372 mass shootings in the US, killing 475 people and wounding 1,870, according to the Mass Shooting Tracker. Overall, some 13,286 people were killed and a further 26,819 people were injured by guns in the US last year, nearly 30 times that in the UK per capita.
Furthermore, the communities most affected by gunfire are least likely to call it in, meaning accurate statistics are hard to collect. While there may be better ways to reduce gun crime, Shot Spotter provides invaluable real-time information to police tackling the issue.
Technology giant Cisco is also getting in on the smart emergency response sector with its IPICS emergency response interoperability system. In emergency situations such as earthquakes and fires, Cisco IPICS allows rapid response from emergency teams as well as providing information other relevant groups, such as human resources or corporate crisis management teams. Using an end-to-end radio dispatching solution Cisco’s Dispatch Console client is the link between dispatchers and field personnel, helping coordinate a smart response and increasing safety in cities in times of crisis.
Video Surveillance has long played an important role in urban law enforcement. Recent technological advancements, are taking video surveillance to the next level with enhanced facial recognition and license plate detection.
Drones are now also increasingly used for a variety of functions in dangerous situations. In the infamous fatal shooting of five police officers this July in Dallas, a drone was used to deploy a bomb near the shooter, quickly ending a worsening situation.
Be it sensors, microphones, cameras, radios or even drones, smart technology and big data analytics are aiding emergency services in predicting and responding to critical situations. Looking forward, it is not so hard to imagine a smart city, filled with sensors, being able to take this concept further with eyes and ears on the ground providing crucial real-time information. In the continuous one-upmanship between criminals and law enforcement, the police are getting a little bit smarter.
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