Smart Cities Use Digital Tools to Fight Crime

Crime in the US is on the rise, and public safety has become an even greater concern for cities large and small. Having the right smart technology tools can help law enforcement agencies respond to dangerous situations more quickly, effectively, and safely, reducing crime and saving lives.

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Image credit: Genetec

The year 2016 was a rough period for residents and law enforcement agencies in Chicago. Violent crime reached record high levels, despite the city’s investment in law enforcement and technology. The Chicago Police Department is the second largest in the country, and has the largest municipal camera platform with, at the time, nearly 30,000 cameras.

CPD had multiple platforms collecting information, including gunshot detection, real-time GPS on police vehicles, criminal incidents, and arrests, plus information about gang members and gang activity. The problem was that all the information was in data silos. To gain better insight into crime in the city, officers had to access each of those resources separately. There was no single place where everything came together.

Jonathan Lewin, then chief of the CPD’s bureau of technical services, and his team knew the department needed a better way to analyze all the data it collected. After unsuccessfully searching for an existing solution, the CPD team urged its video management system provider, Genetec, to develop one.

Challenge accepted. Genetec, an Intel® solution partner, went to work, riding along with CPD officers to get a better understanding of what was needed. The company knew it could bring all the data together, and within 30 days Genetec developed the basis of Citigraf. Within three years, the CPD was able to reduce overall violent crime by 24 percent and reduce shootings by 70 percent.

Camera angles to be analyzed by Citigraf

Image credit: Genetec

Smart Policing

Today, Citigraf is a fully functional decision support platform designed to give law enforcement agencies a comprehensive real-time view of police and public safety events across the city. It integrates data from ShotSpotter, a widely used crime detection platform, and other gunshot detection systems as well as license plate recognition, video monitoring, and record management systems to provide officers with situational awareness of events.

It can pull and analyze information from cameras, drones, and other sources and share data with real-time maps, dashboards, and reports. At the same time, it can provide stats, send alerts, and enable better resource planning for special events and other scenarios.

Citigraf allows police departments to monitor in real-time the location of police units and incoming 911 and computer-aided dispatch (CAD) calls. The software’s correlation engine populates events and related activities on a map with time and location data, giving law enforcement a comprehensive visual representation of events and enabling better resource planning.

Data-driven Event Response

When an event occurs, the Citigraf software aggregates the field data, and a marker pops up on the map. An officer can click on the marker to find out the type of event (perhaps a gunshot or car crash), identify who might be involved, and determine how best to respond.

Citigraf works on multiple device types, so first responders on patrol can view the same data as the dispatchers in the command center. Information from Citigraf can be pushed out through voice radio or smartphones.

The map-based view displays incidents from multiple data sources, but Citigraf also allows law enforcement to tag data and relevant evidence to assist in investigations. That digital evidence can be shared across departments through the use of Clearance™, Genetec’s cloud-based digital evidence management system.

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