An estimated 240 million calls are made to 911 every day in the United States. Dispatchers receive these calls, gather the necessary details, and prioritize calls based on urgency. Police officers are then sent to the scene to handle the situation.
Calls with the greatest urgency include:
- An active robbery
- A fight with weapons
- Active fires
- Bomb threats
- Missing children under the age of 12
- Active shooter
- Endangered property
What about urgent situations that go unreported, like a shooting? Approximately 80 percent of gunshot incidents are never reported to 911. Fast response to a shooting can mean the difference between life and death for those involved, but there is little dispatch or law enforcement can do if a call is not made. Law enforcement has volumes of data that can help them better protect their communities, but they need an effective way to visualize and leverage that information.
No Gunshot Unheard
Gun violence in the U.S. is purportedly on the rise, and in 2018 alone there were over 50,000 gun incidents. In their current process and systems, officers have no way of knowing when and where shots are fired unless an individual calls 911. This can lead to victims dying and evidence being overlooked. In order to better protect their citizens, law enforcement needs a way to be notified of unreported gunshots.
Law enforcement can implement a shot detection system, such as ShotSpotter, across their city. The technology works like this—sensors are installed across the city to pick up the sound of a gunshot. If a gun is fired, ShotSpotter software analyzes audio signals and filters out background noise like wind or cars to verify if the sound was a gunshot. Through sensors, the software presents the exact location of the shot. Dispatch can send officers to the scene faster, thereby improving response times and increasing the likelihood that police can help the victim and obtain details they need to solve the shooting. The call about the gunshot may never have come through to 911, but with a shot detection system in place, police can reduce the amount of gun violence that goes heavily unreported.
Real-Time Data Visualization
Dispatch relies on real-time data, which oftentimes comes in the form of calls being placed through 911. Law enforcement requires a solution that helps them monitor their own operations to better delegate responsibility to a squad. Operators can benefit from a platform that integrates their existing data, such as vehicles, and private and public cameras and visualizes them in real-time on an interactive map.
For example, if dispatch receives a call about an active robbery, they can look at the interactive map and immediately assess the location of their officers. They can pull up cameras in the area to get a better idea of the situation in real-time and relay this pertinent information to the officers. Real-time understanding and visualization of a dangerous situation can better prepare responders for what to expect. The more knowledge law enforcement is equipped with empowers them to create strong action plans to get the results they want.
Alerts and Incidents
In keeping the public safe, every minute of every second counts; officers are under high pressure to ensure civilians go unharmed. The current system sees high volumes of data stuck in silos. Dispatch needs a way to focus their attention on dire situations and determine appropriate priority levels.
Customized, real-time alerts can be used by law enforcement to direct their focus to a situation that meets a predetermined criteria. Adopting a system that supports real-time alerting allows police to keep track of incidents, maintain a historical record, and improves dispatches ability to monitor for potential problems. To illustrate, say police are concerned about a particularly violent area, and want to know if any of their officers enter that zone. A customized notification will alert them that their car has crossed into that location. This allows dispatch to immediately direct their attention to that officer to provide backup if necessary.
Leveraging Data for Safer Spaces
There is a wealth of data that law enforcement receives every day. These volumes of data contain valuable information that can provide officers with actionable insights. Law enforcement can enhance awareness by adopting a real-time IoT visualization platform that supports alerts and a shot detection system. These types of systems will help officers focus on the most important details during critical moments. It will also ensure that a safer community is developed, as dispatch will have a better way of monitoring for gun violence. Law enforcement using data driven information will see improved response times, a decrease in some types of violence, and ultimately, a safer community that sees the commitment their police department has to the city.