How Successful Is Security In Reducing Crime Rates?
16 Aug 2021
Crime prevention is a basic goal of security, even if a security system merely convinces a criminal to seek out a different target. However, many of today’s security technologies are most useful after the fact, to provide forensic information about a crime that has already taken place. Solving a crime presents a whole new level of challenge. Surely, prevention is the best approach. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How successful is the security industry in crime prevention and reducing crime rates?
Case studies have proven that having a video surveillance system can deter a significant amount of crime. For example, the University of North Carolina (May 2020) found that half of all the surveyed burglars would flee the area after discovering cameras. The obvious presence of security systems can be just as useful in tackling crime as their practical ability in protecting people and property. Street surveillance cameras (CCTVs) and dashboard cameras can also deter crime by increasing the probabilities of arrest and punishment, at a fraction of the cost of hiring more law enforcement officers. They are not a panacea, though. They need to be deployed and monitored effectively, with the right backup and support to deal with any incidents. It is also vital that consideration be given to maintain privacy, too – people need to be comfortable these systems are not intruding unnecessarily on their personal space.
For the security manager, the best crime is the one that never happens, as investigations of past events are difficult and time consuming. We have learned how to be successful in crime prevention, and that is because of all the different disciplines that are available for end users to use to build a successful and holistic crime prevention program. Preventative measures include public view monitors for a clear indicator of surveillance, object detection analytics and audio capabilities integrated with cameras to deter intruders, as well as proper lighting of specific areas, efficient access control systems and the presence of security personnel. One important aspect to crime prevention is raising awareness and educating users about specific threats. Cybersecurity is a good example of how greater awareness of threats directly assists in crime prevention and the reduction of such crimes. More organizations are implementing solutions to contain threats.
The huge amounts of data available from video surveillance, body-worn devices, traffic cameras and other IoT devices means there is more real-time and historical evidence for police to work with than ever before. Despite this, the percentage of crimes that are resolved has remained fairly constant at about 64%. Police departments often say that they are data-rich but information-poor, as making sense of all this data can be overwhelming and time-consuming. Many also find themselves operationally hindered by the “siloed” systems they rely upon, in which each source of data coming into the command center is separate from the rest. New unified solutions enable cities and public safety agencies to leverage the full potential of evidence available by reducing time spent on mundane tasks and providing methods to collaborate more effectively with businesses and the public, while at the same time preserving the privacy of individuals.
Traditional alarm systems are designed simply to detect and notify in the case of an alarm activation. These activations come from various sensors that detect intrusion when armed. When the central station is notified an alarm has been triggered, they respond based on the listed instructions. Although this technique is widely used, it does present problems because of the lack of early detection and large numbers of false alarms, often resulting in a slow response from law enforcement and low apprehension rates. Alarm verification using audio and/or video detection can help mitigate these issues. Impact-activated audio sensors are a proven method of early detection, allowing central station operators to hear a break-in, often before the intruder has even gained entry into the building. These volumetric audio sensors provide the central station operator real-time information they can forward to police dispatch, which can shorten police response times, enhance safety, and improve apprehension.
Today’s security systems provide more data than ever, often in real-time. Using that data to prevent crime depends on an ability to translate the raw data into useful information. Tying together technologies into a holistic process to prevent crime is an ongoing challenge. The simple presence of security technology can help to discourage a criminal, and awareness is the first step toward vigilance.
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