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Safe City: A tool to stop violence against women and children

Safe City is the technology supported Law enforcement system whereby all sections of society feel safe, secure and self-confident -- maximising safety and minimising crimes

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By Dr Gopala Krishna Behara

Sexual harassment and various forms of sexual violence in public spaces are an everyday occurrence for women, girls and child in urban and rural areas around the country. It happens on streets, shopping malls, public transport, parks, in and around schools and workplaces, in public sanitation facilities and water and food distribution sites.

All these situations lead to restrict the freedom of movement of women and girl and their inability to participate in school, college, work and in public life.

Safe City is the technology supported Law enforcement system whereby all sections of society feel safe, secure and self-confident — maximising safety and minimising crimes.

The objective of Safe City is to provide effective public safety ecosystem for incident prevention, emergency response and evidence collection by implementing amicable, friendly, service oriented and actionable approach in the policing activities.

In today’s challenging law enforcement environment where resources are scarce, Safe City is an invaluable tool for helping communities deter and reduce crime in priority local areas through the integration of community partnerships and technology.

Building blocks of Safe City:

  • Community partnerships: Key allies include residents, businesses and community organisations
  • Alert networks: Narrow and broadcasting networks including SMS alerts and other media
  • Photo sharing: Distribution of photos of individuals involved in illegal or unsafe acts
  • Information sharing: Integration with crime and criminal tracking networks and systems
  • Security installations: Strategic installations to monitor high-traffic areas and prioritise response

Trends of safe city across globe
Emergence of smart technologies like unified communication and IP networks is increasingly driving the shift towards a safer city. Growing trend as cities worldwide embrace these technologies in their drive for a safer city.

Examples:

  • New York already has close to a million CCTV cameras
  • London is home to more than 1.85 million CCTV cameras strategically placed across the city. In a single day a person could expect to be filmed 300 times
  • Chicago links 2,000 that monitor public housing, the transit system and public buildings, so their feeds can all be watched at the city’s emergency operations center.
  • In India during March 2018, government approved ₹2,919 crore for the Safe Cities programme for eight major cities : Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Lucknow for three years
  • Recently inaugurated “Safe City Surat” initiative is first-ever CCTV surveillance project based on PPP model in India. 5,000 CCTV cameras installed across three phases at 500 locations in Surat

Safe City ecosystem
The primary goal of Safe City is to ensure safety and security for citizens by building an ecosystem consisting of intelligent surveillance infrastructure and monitoring, facilitating automated exchange of relevant information between police, prisons, traffic, fire and emergency services, engaging partnership with citizens and collaboration with social media for pro-active identification and effective resolution of civilian problems, crimes and emergencies.

Surveillance and monitoring: Constitutes the surveillance infrastructure for data collection, collation and analysis. This involves installation of various surveillance field devices such as CCTV, PTZ cameras, message signboards in the areas of interest (identified surveillance areas) with the necessary infrastructure for network connectivity to Command Control Centre (CCC).

  • The Command Control Centre (CCC) is the “nerve centre” – a central administrative location from where overall assets and activities are monitored and managed. This is equipped with display devices, Data Storage, Servers and system software components such as Video management System, Red Light Violation Detection (RLVD), Speed Detection , Facial Recognition, Automatic Number Plate Recognition for automatic and speedy analysis and further actions on the same
  • Business intelligence and analytics software and solutions for deriving crime analytics, traffic analytics and video/audio analytics that used for predictions and analysing patterns

Connected applications: Enable automated exchange of relevant information between the applications of Police/Traffic/Prisons/Fire for faster and efficient decision making in daily activities as well as in emergencies/incidents

  • Used by the analytics software/tools in conjunction with the surveillance data to trace the required information for investigation purpose

Emergency & Response Management System (ERMS): Enhance the quality of the service related to responding calls and connect with Command Center for coordinated emergency response between Fire, Police, Traffic and Health services in times of emergency and disaster situations to maximize spread of management efforts.

For analyzing calls, better information gathering, promptly responding to calls, maintaining database, responding to situations appropriately at the earliest, follow up and faster information sharing across various levels and using advanced analytics for decision support and policy formulation

Crowd Management, measures to ensure security at Public Places, Events and Mass Gathering and handle emergencies. The various building blocks include:

  • Identification of risk hotspots across the city
  • Crowd Control Infrastructure
  • Automatic Alert System
  • Emergency Specific evacuation plans for the public
  • Integrated Response across teams
  • Centralized action plans in case of threats
  • Surveillance and Monitoring via drones

Media and citizen collaboration: Aims at enhancing the policing services by engaging citizens in a friendly, open manner, gaining their respect, trust and confidence.

  • Mobile App for Citizens to report incidents, share information, leads and resources, SOS and other necessary information and features to ensure safety
  • Usage of Social media tools to gather intelligence information, alerting public, disseminating information about missing persons and potential threats. Social Media used by Police to give the right perspective of the events and news to the citizens without the intervention of press/newspapers. Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter used to gather intelligence information for assessing potential threats and crime patterns
  • Provision for Online Registration, Complaint Application, Tracking and Feedback through various channels such as mobile app, online web, helpline numbers
  • Public Awareness and citizen training in incident specific response and actions, such as information sharing, first aid, action plans for – fire, road accident, bomb blast, communal tension and so on
  • Community Partnership – Building geographically based communities for enabling Community Policing and Campus Policing

Benefits of Safe City ecosystem
Crime and violence are serious threats to social structure and economic stability in cities around the world. The damage and fear they create threatens quality of life, human rights, social and economic stability, sustainable development. The various benefits of Safe City are:

  • City Data Analysis, allows cities to realize new levels of awareness while tapping into rich data sources to help ensure safety and optimize operations
  • Innovative detection, use of combination of multiple processes, solutions and technologies, and aggregating information from various sources to gain the most accurate information available about a situation at any given time
  • Efficient data management, grouping together data streams from audio, video, mapping, and other relevant systems onto a single solution, cities gain valuable information from captured data. When combined, multiple data points establish the possibility of further threats and outline accurate identification of suspects in multiple incidents
  • Communication, Command centers quickly disseminate urgent communications to help responders and citizens remain alert and aware
  • Interagency Collaboration, various agencies utilize data from a number of sources in both the public and private sector. This allows city officials to share data with private businesses and vice versa to coordinate security efforts and patrols appropriately and cost-effectively
  • Events Management, by implementing replay of audio, video, text, screen data, telematics, and related data onto a single screen, security personnel facilitate effective debriefing and improve performance for future incidents
  • Citizen engagement, with the rise of smartphone use across the globe, mobile phone users can capture high-definition photos and videos. In an emergency, data from citizens proves to be valuable in helping mitigate risks and ensuring effective response

Conclusion
The increasing number of crime rate in cities has certainly evokes the fear of crime. It is important to enhance our living environment by providing a safe city for all. By identifying existing hot spot crime area, several improvement can be made such as increasing the visibility, improving the quality of street light, keeping the environment clean and installation of CCTV with aid of human surveillance. Setup the integrated smart control room to assist the needy people.

Next generation technology used as part of safe cities for women and girls, to invest in mapping studies that examine issues of women’s access to technology and incorporate their views on the ways to use technology to prevent and respond to sexual violence, and other forms of violence against women in public spaces.

Police, prisons and courts alone cannot stop the raise of crime and violence. Citizen safety is the right of all citizens. Institutions and civil organizations must build safer cities together by creating inclusive and equal urban environments. Include all categories of the Citizens in decision making and planning. So, let us establish Safe Society.

(The author is a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff | MAS-GEA of Wipro Ltd)


If you have an interesting article / experience / case study to share, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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1 Comment
  1. Anna says

    interesting post, thanks for sharing.

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