How smart technology helps to prevent crime

Technological advances are drastically altering our everyday lives at an exciting and sometimes overwhelming pace.

by | Jan 11

3 min read

While not all technological advances are changing lives for the better (targeted advertising is a case in point), smart tech is being used in several industries to fulfil some of the most basic needs, such as the need for safety and security.

Technology companies are starting to harness the collective power of data and prediction to react to and even prevent crimes. 

Curious? Here’s how it works:

WAYS SMART TECH IS IMPROVING REACTIONS TO CRIME

The unpleasant truth is that we live in a time in which many people will be affected by crime at some point in their lives. It is also, unfortunately, true that emergency responders, whether state police or private companies, don’t always rely on the latest technology to ensure victims get help quickly and effectively.

But emerging dispatch technologies are steadily improving first responder networks for the better:

  • Faster, more accurate response to emergencies

Emerging technologies are making it easier for armed and emergency responders to find and assist people in need of help. This improvement is being driven by the availability of real-time information streams via photos, videos, audio sources and location-based services.

New technologies are, for instance, assisting responders to find the fastest route to an incident and locate emergencies more quickly and easily through location tracking on smart devices.

  • A better understanding of crime

This both empowers first responder networks and provides metrics about the frequency and nature of crimes within communities. 

In our technologically connected world, information about criminal activity is now being captured and shared more effectively with first responder networks through dedicated apps and social media.

WAYS IN WHICH EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES WILL HELP TO PREVENT CRIME

Advances in emergency response are largely due to the growth of smartphone use across the world. This technology can, however, do even more to keep us all safe:

1. Collaboration

Collaboration in both the reactive and preventative security space is becoming key to innovation in these industries. Through effective propagation of information, these stakeholders are now able to build safer communities.

2. Analysis

Analysts are also able to process historical and real-time data from CCTV, gunshot detection systems, smart traffic lights and other Internet of Things sensors to make increasingly accurate predictions about when and where crimes may happen.

3. Prediction models

Using the crime patterns and trends of a specific area, first responder networks can now position themselves in locations where crimes are more likely to occur.

In some communities, the number of crimes and the amount of time it takes to respond to emergencies are decreasing because responders are positioning themselves in hotspots identified through predictional models. 

A great example of this is a six-month pilot project by the Vancouver police department in 2017, where the use of a crime prediction model significantly reduced residential break-ins.

4. Data processing

Smart technology is also helping response networks sift through oceans of data in a way that humans could never do in real-time.

For instance, first responder networks can now more easily track and identify vehicles and individuals linked to existing investigations and open criminal cases. This is due to a combination of the monitoring of auditory sensors, video feeds and other cues, and the increasing accuracy with which learning and classification algorithms can recognise license plates and faces. 

Where this technology starts to divide opinion is around the use of behavioural trends and profiling to make predictions about whether a crime is going to occur.

While many of these technologies are still in development and require refinement, it’s clear that the continued evolution of smart, connected tech will open up many different ways in which people can access the protection and security they need.