According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the world population is estimated to reach 10 billion people by the year 2050 — growth that may spawn widespread challenges to the safety and security of cities across the globe.
To help address these issues, governments and law enforcement agencies have embraced the idea of Safe City programs. Such initiatives are designed to enable cities to be safer, smarter and more proactive with security and safety efforts. These programs incorporate robust security processes and operating procedures as well as advanced technologies, including video surveillance, access control, video analytics, public safety communications, social media tracking, gunshot detection and license plate recognition, to name a few. The data from these multiple platforms is useful in building a more intelligent approach to security and streamlining communications between city officials, first responders and even citizens.
One of the most critical components of any Safe City program is video surveillance. It is proven as a deterrent and an investigative tool. Today’s IP-based systems and sensors can span large geographic areas, reducing the need for manual patrols of high-risk areas. For example, command center operators can send pictures of a suspect from surveillance video feeds directly to a patrol officer’s mobile device, who can then easily access the footage on their smart devices. This process allows officers to be more informed before responding to an incident and helps agencies gather the most up-to-date information 24/7. Video analytics are also valuable in analyzing trends related to risk (i.e. increased activity in a particular area of town) as well as managing traffic flow patterns and monitoring for crowds.
Even with the most robust technology deployment in place, Safe City programs cannot be successful without close cooperation and collaboration between city leaders, law enforcement, traffic management, the school system and private businesses. The ability for public and private entities to gather and share information helps cities orchestrate an effective response. Stakeholders can take data from a number of sources, allowing officials to appropriately and cost-effectively coordinate security efforts and patrols. When first responders and law enforcement agencies, public safety officials and private entities take an integrated approach, urban areas can address incidents and emergencies immediately without missing key elements of an investigation.
Through the integration of new technology solutions and information sharing, cities can achieve advanced levels of situational awareness and can realize the overall benefits of security intelligence, resulting in lowered crime rates, reduced operational challenges, and systemized and timely responses to potentially harmful and threatening situations. The increased pressure on municipalities to provide a safe environment for their residents and commuters challenge officials to rethink municipal safety and security strategies. In an effort to address some of these challenges, Pelco by Schneider Electric has produced a webcast designed to educate listeners about solutions regarding budget constraints, incompatible technologies, wide-area surveillance and advanced in camera technology.