As we enter the New Year, happily, some things stay the same. Namely, IBM’s focus on helping cities become smarter and safer. IBM just announced how it is working with the Rochester and Las Vegas police departments to better forecast crime “hot spots” and proactively allocate resources accordingly.
The advanced software the will enable the cities to better identify incident pattern, to understand linkages between apparently isolated pieces of information, and to mine, share and extract intelligence from critical data in order to improve police prevention, response and investigation.
Rochester and Las Vegas join cities like New York; Memphis; Edmonton, Ca.;and many others as places where safety and security for citizens and businesses are being improved through new technologies, while preserving government’s scarce budget resources. In many ways, these smaller cities often need to be more innovative with technology as they work under tighter resource constraints.
And, despite these constraints, crime rates in the US are dropping – and I’d like to think that technology has played a significant role in that. According to the FBI’s Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report (released Dec. 19) crime rates within the first six months of 2011 were down compared to the same period of 2010:
- Violent crimes reported fell by 6.4%
- Arson offenses down by 8.6%
- Motor vehicle theft fell 5%
For communities to continue to see an increase in public safety, we’re going to have to prioritize. Recently I wrote an article that appeared in Contingency Today that highlights what I believe with be the top three priorities for public safety agencies for 2012. In short, I said that integration, analytics and the use of technology to act as “force multipliers” and to battle shrinking budgets will be key factors. I’m glad to see that Rochester and Las Vegas are proving me right.