Rapid population growth and continuous expansion of cities has put city authorities in front of many new security challenges, which they have not had the opportunity to meet in the past. Can they ensure a safe living environment despite increasingly shrinking budgets?
Providing safety is crucial to improve the quality of life in the cities, and has a significant impact on the promotion of economic growth. Although safety concern and reducing crime are priorities of many city authorities, these are having difficulties following them due to the slimmed-down budgets. Today, cities employ far less police officers than a decade ago, they are forced to close down police stations and to redeploy officers, which is why they can no longer provide sufficient security that life in cities requires.
As a result, police officers themselves are put at risk in some cases. Therefore cities must find a way to reduce the risk for both – the citizens as well as the law enforcement authorities.
Shrinking budgets and personnel cuts require different actions from city authorities. For cities to provide a decent level of safety despite limited resources, they have to turn to innovations, as advanced technological solutions allow their law enforcement authorities a more rational case management, which can lead to police officers being more successful at work. Smart Cities already see the opportunities to improve safety in increased surveillance, mobile and network technologies and data analysis.
Until 2020, more than 50 billion different devices will be connected to the Internet and cities will be able to use all the available data to detect upward trends and take well thought-out actions in the fight against crime. With modern systems, they will be able to easily collect and analyze data from various public sources, such as video cameras on public transport, in supermarkets or on different other locations in the city. The data can also be acquired from various social networks, such as Twitter, and what is more, the authorities can directly include the citizens in the informing process through different apps. With the access to large amounts of data and with increasingly smarter analytical tools, the authorities will be able to use the collected data to foresee and percept various types of criminal acts before they even occur.
Such insight will enable city authorities to detect areas of increased crime, which will gave them the opportunity to act more deliberately and deploy officers more intelligently, e.g. sending them to the areas that are more exposed to crime. With such systems, police officers will not only respond to criminal acts, but will also be able to act proactively and stop them before they occur.
This can have various positive effects on the life in the city:
For law enforcement authorities
Higher rate of detecting crime, automatic detection of crime, better responsiveness to it, more efficient operations, optimizing budget, etc.
Less crime, more attractive for investors, companies and human resources, etc.
Safer neighbourhoods, faster access to safety information, etc.
It is therefore important for cities that all public infrastructure is integrated into a single data cell that will enable quick collection, analysis and presentation of information related to safety. With platforms for smart city management and on the basis of the obtained information, the city authorities will be able to effectively increase the safety of their citizens without having to increase the number of police officers as well, and respond to each criminal act appropriately.