About this SeriesEach month, we are highlighting a new situation where technology has brought value to public safety agencies.Social Media: The Remarkable Ways Social Media Is Changing Public Safety Predictive Policing: Stopping Crimes Before They HappenPublic Safety Applications: How the Next Angry Birds Just Might Make the World a Safer Place Digital Notebooks: Take Note – How Better Note Taking can Make Your Community Stronger Part five of our "Tech is Doing What?!" seriesThis is a map of all gunshot reports received by the Oakland Police Department during a one month period.This is a map of the total gunshots that actually occurred in that community during the same time period.Three things stand out:1) There are a striking number of gunshots not being reported to your police agency. New York City Councilman Mark Treyger acknowledged as much, recently stating “The way we record shootings is highly problematic… It is tracked only when someone is actually hit, rather than when a shot is fired.”2) The gunshots that are reported don’t necessarily correlate with the places where the most gunfire actually occurs. “People that live in the neighborhoods most plagued by gunfire are the ones who are most legitimately and understandably fearful” Milwaukee Police Chief Edward A Flynn stated, “and therefore less engaged with the police than other stronger neighborhoods are.” In areas where gun violence is rampant, residents are much less likely to report gun violence to law enforcement, both because they fear retaliation and because they are simply more accustomed to it. 3) 1 and 2 are MAJOR problems if your police agency is serious about stopping and preventing gun violence and crime.More and more, agencies are realizing that gun violence is a serious issue and are turning to technology to address it. Cities like Milwaukee, New York, and Camden have all implemented gunshot detection solutions to prevent gun violence in their communities.Trenton Police Lieutenant, Stephen Varn, explains that his agency implemented ShotSpotter “to help us combat violent crime and hopefully maybe even save a life.” ShotSpotter, the leading technology in the gunshot detection space, uses acoustics to geo-locate gunshots and feed that information into agencies in near-real time.ShotSpotter customers have seen gunfire rates in their communities drop by an average of 28.8%. At an intuitive level, it makes sense. If I’m a criminal and the cops only show up after I fire a gun 1/5th of the time—likely with limited intelligence to the actual location I fired from—I’m not too worried; however, if suddenly the police start showing up every time I fire a weapon, immediately after at the exact location, I might be a bit hesitant to shoot anymore. Police Chief Ron Teachman of South Bend, Indiana explains how immediate geo-located alerts help his agency, “knowing the exact address where the gun was fired enables us to survey that neighborhood—we can knock on doors, check on residents, we can find out if anyone needs help.”Others, like Chicago’s Police Department, have taken this technology a step further. The city integrated gunshot alerts with real-time video for immediate eyes on scene. "Not only do we learn where the shots are being fired, but now those officers can actually turn cameras on the location, get actionable intelligence that they can feed to the officers in the field as they're approaching," said said Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.With every new technology, law enforcement must walk a balancing act between privacy and safety. Every citizen wants to feel safe in their home, but at what cost? Advancements in real-time video and social media monitoring bring ‘big brother’ concerns and questions about where privacy ends and safety begins. For residents of gun plagued areas, gunshot detection might be the perfect compromise between the two. For citizens, the technology is non-invasive, and only activates when a gunshot is fired. For police, it provides actionable intelligence, only alerting them when they actually need to respond. And for everyone, gun violence is reduced and communities can thrive.Learn more about Motorola Solutions' Intelligence-Led Public Safety Solutions here. Ross Venhuizen is the Global Marketing Specialist for Motorola’s Smart Public Safety Solutions. Connect with him on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/rossvenhuizenRead more blogs by Ross here.
When Twitter purchased Periscope in March 2015, live streaming video suddenly became relevant to everyone. With backing from one of the major social media players, the public flocked to the app and its primary competitor, Meerkat. As we know, where the public goes, law enforcement inevitably must follow.
What is live streaming video?
Live streaming video apps let users video stream from their smartphones and devices to anyone else in the world using the same app. Because these feeds are public, anyone around the globe can follow users and watch their videos. Live streaming apps turn the everyday person into a reporter. Average citizens can now stream everything: their commute to work, child’s first steps, concerts, demonstrations, and the newsworthy events of daily life.
Why is live streaming video important for law enforcement?
The world of instant news and sharing is certainly not new for us, as we’re used to sharing text, pictures and videos online via social media. Live streaming video takes this world a step further. Now anyone can be a reporter and stream their perspective to anyone in the world…anyone…in real-time. That sounds exciting and interesting from a user perspective perhaps, but from the eyes of law enforcement, it can be both an asset and a liability.
There are benefits to live streaming video.
Technology and social media providers tapping into firehose data from Twitter can pull videos from live video streaming apps as part of their efforts in social media threat detection and investigative work. Live streaming video can be used in proactive policing efforts to spot potential risks and assess scenarios that enable law enforcement to make decisions faster and more appropriately. Officers can see a situation unfold and be alerted that it is a risk in real-time. Think public unrest, riots, school shootings, publicized cases, and special events--there is tremendous value an analyst could gleam from video data. There are cues and clues in videos not detectable in text that could provide valuable intel for law enforcement. This all requires good police work, and officers still need to be able to decipher that data and make decisions that impact public and officer safety. The ability to use live streaming video social media data is exciting and opens new doors for law enforcement.
There are also major drawbacks to live streaming video.
A dangerous situation for law enforcement is when a suspect or person of interest in the middle of committing a crime watches the live stream of officials in actions. Because anyone with a smartphone can be streaming live, law enforcement officers on the scene may not be aware if they are being live streamed. That puts officer lives and tactical strategies at risk. Said person of interest and committer of the crime can change their behavior and harm officers and the public based on what they’re seeing live. In the worse case scenario, the bad guys can get the upper hand.
How should I live stream?
Live streaming is a powerful tool that can used to keep officers and citizens more informed, and ultimately, safer.
Listen to members of the Digital Stakeout team on the Motorola Solutions' podcast 'MSI #5: Law Enforcement Gets Social' here:
For the last 13 years, Motorola has hosted a customer roundtable discussion at IAFC Fire-Rescue International (FRI)’s Annual Conference and Expo to hear firsthand about the challenges facing the fire community. This year at FRI in Atlanta, Georgia, analytics and big data were the newest topics. As data continues to be top of mind in Public Safety across the spectrum, we started to ask “how can the fire community harness all of this information and use it to help in an emergency situation?”
How could data and analytics be used in the fire community?
An analytics engine and predictive modeling could help allocate resources more efficiently. If there is traffic collision, technology could help identify the fire resources readily available. Tools could also show the trend of structure fires in an area, shape community education opportunities, and identify the number of calls to a specific residence to give the fire community smarter information.
How could data be used for fire prevention?
The information to keep communities safe is within reach, but the need to consolidate and synthesize it efficiently remains. Proper documentation, with mobile platforms can aggregate on-site hazards, and provide intelligence behind the scenes. Agencies must be able to distribute data to smartphones and tablets to communicate with firefighters on scene to enhance voice communication features. The right tool consolidates the information coming into dispatch and updates team members on the ground, in real-time, to give them the best opportunity for success.
What about drones?
One of the newest tools to market, drones like those created by CyPhy works can provide a previously unseen vantage point when assessing dangerous situations. With eyes in the sky, fire command can get a complete view of a burning building, and collect information about surrounding at-risk areas.
How does this relate to our radios?
While the overall big data conversation is being explored by the fire community, its application on APX radios and accessories is very tangible. New developments, like the APX 8000 which enables greater interoperability by accessing all public safety bands, and the new Bluetooth enabled remote speaker microphone audio in MSA masks are real-life examples of the impact. Using data, analysis, and the feedback from firefighters and chiefs around the globe, the products used daily to keep the fire community safe are evolving with the world around them.
We look forward to continuing the analytics and data conversation with fire chiefs so that we may help cities become safer. For more information, visit http://www.motorolasolutions.com/en_us/solutions/fire-ems.
Dhiren Chauhan is the Manager of Fire and Emergency Medical Services Solutions at Motorola Solutions