Community safety in the digital age
Community safety in the digital age4 minutes
You don’t have to look further than the news to see how technology is transforming the way law enforcement fights crime. Take the NYPD’s 2018 arrest of the “Tip Jar Bandit.” After a theft at a Staten Island deli, police used surveillance video to capture the perpetrator’s image and circulate it via social media to publicize it across the command and community. This spurred new info. When officers received a report of a person stealing a tip jar at a local tea shop, they were able to quickly apprehend the woman, using their smartphones to establish her identity and collaborate with other precincts to put an end to a cross-city crime spree.
From bystander videos and streetlight surveillance to body-worn cameras and facial recognition software, digital advancements in the way evidence is captured, stored and shared promise to make police work more efficient, while strengthening relations between a community and its force. But for all this digital intelligence to be helpful, it needs to be actionable – which means connecting all these technologies and getting them to work together.
As a leader in connected solutions that support law enforcement, Panasonic is deeply engaged in developing technology and systems to address policing in the 21st century. We provide security and video surveillance systems designed to integrate with our mobile, communication and evidence management platforms. That’s important because when you’re leveraging disruptive technologies, such as new forms of mobile content, cloud storage and the challenges brought on by the Internet of Things (IoT), there’s a very real need to synergize these technologies into a unified, simple and secure technology ecosystem.
Here’s a look at what’s possible in public safety in a digitally connected community.
Extra eyes and ears
The Tip Jar Bandit is one example of how digital assets can expand a community’s watch. But imagine if the suspect had taken off in a getaway car. In a connected city, police officers can associate data like a license plate number to that individual. Then, the suspect’s car can be tracked through smart streetlights and other city surveillance as she drives around town. Advanced camera features like intelligent zoom image stabilization enable officers to widen the search and provide a clear picture of the culprit, even in a high-speed chase.
In her haste, perhaps the perpetrator runs a red light. Traffic analytics software integrated into city cameras would detect this unusual activity and automatically alert law enforcement for a quick response. If she chooses to take the subway, transportation surveillance, with cameras offering wide views, would see her boarding the train. Should she flee on foot, facial recognition security algorithms, like those in use in a program at NJIT, can be used to identify her in real-time and alert the community to be on the lookout.
In addition, surveillance recordings can be forensically searched to confirm the presence of persons of interest after the fact. Connected technologies enable more efficient policing, not only in desk work but in how investigations are handled. In an emergency, this free flow of public safety information can improve response times.
Information flows freely
Police work doesn’t stop once a suspect is caught. There’s an arrest process, cross-examination, court and possible jail time. In a connected community, an integrated video evidence management system can automatically and securely share evidence with prosecutors. Having central access to digital evidence across the law enforcement chain is powerful, providing not just labor but cost efficiencies. It can also lead to more indictments.
In this tech-driven world, everyone with a smartphone becomes a potential witness. When technology, law enforcement and the public all work together, they can create a safer, connected community.
Learn more about connected security solutions.