Integrate Artificial Intelligence with your city surveillance to enhance incident response

Integrate Artificial Intelligence with your city surveillance to enhance incident response

The burden of identifying and reporting incidents was once the sole responsibility of security operators in busy control rooms, which too often led to stressed staff and suspects gaining vital seconds to evade capture. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now transforming these environments by helping operators to enhance incident management and increase their efficiency. 

In a city surveillance system, a common event might be spotting suspicious behaviour on the street which could lead to an attack. AI provides the tools to support operators to resolve incidents more quickly and accurately, which can ultimately save lives.  Without the help of AI, it can be more difficult for operators to react consistently and quickly to every incident, manually search footage and track the suspect across the network, before passing on accurate and timely information to police so they are able to catch the perpetrator. 

City security systems have unique challenges, due to the fact that they can include thousands of cameras which transmit huge amounts of data. This creates difficulties in terms of storage space, never mind for security operators who have to monitor and sort all of the data to identify what’s important. Security managers in charge of a control room also have to contend with the very human element of people missing incidents on screen or maybe just having an “off day”.

An “off day” for a security operator shouldn’t be the reason that an incident escalates with potentially serious consequences, and with the increased use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), it no longer has to be. AI has the potential to make city surveillance much smarter, by using the masses of data across the network to lessen the burden on operators, optimize safety, streamline incident management and increase efficiency.


AI creates “smart” city surveillance

Introducing Artificial Intelligence (AI) benefits the user experience for the operator by automatically detecting and flagging relevant footage, which makes it easier to identify important events,  therefore enhancing productivity and reducing response times. AI can be programmed to detect anomalous footage and alert the operator to this immediately, flagging critical events sooner and enabling the operator to act faster. The attention of the operator can therefore always be on what matters most, rather than watching hours of video where little happens. Utilizing AI in city-wide applications is particularly beneficial due to the large number of cameras which need to be monitored: operators can be more effective when managing multiple cameras if they receive alerts and alarms to potential incidents.

For example: a suspect has left a holdall bag in the middle of a crowded city square. The AI-enhanced surveillance system has been configured to recognize anomalous stationary objects and sends an alert to the operator’s workstation, highlighting that the event needs human interjection. Seeing that the bag has been left alone for some time, the operator contacts law enforcement and using AI search features, easily rewinds back to the moment that the bag was left. This provides the operator with an image of the suspect, and AI face detection software can then search the city’s network of cameras for footage to track the individual’s behaviour before and after leaving the bag. This automatic search process carried out by AI technology can save valuable time during incident response. Consequently, information identified by AI technology and verified by the human security operator can be passed to police immediately, ensuring a coordinated response that is efficient, timely and may save lives.


Implications for city surveillance systems

Cities that are able to maximise their incident response, therefore safeguarding and protecting residents, are more likely to attract visitors and business investment into the district. The advantages of using AI to increase the intelligence of public security systems are therefore very attractive for municipalities worldwide and many regions are considering their technology options carefully. Singapore has launched a dedicated National Artificial Intelligence office to explore how to coordinate the strategic use of AI across the city to improve the quality of life for residents and the visitor experience for tourists. 

Artificial Intelligence can lead to greater cohesion between municipal bodies such as local government, police and fire departments, for example. In the La Molina district of Lima, Peru, which covers an area of 65km² with a population of 140,000 people, integrating municipal security systems with the police department has enhanced incident response times by improving how information is shared between the district’s authorities:

We have been able to identify people displaying inappropriate behaviour and pass this information straight onto the Police, in this way the crime and assault rates have improved and decreased.  
- Fredy Diaz, IT Supervisor, La Molina Municipality.


Using Artificial Intelligence to more intelligently operate your surveillance system can help to make your city a safer place to live in by helping security operators to more easily and effectively identify and report incidents. Reducing the occurrence of incidents in your district and making it a safer place to live and work, will help to attract investment from new businesses and allow your city’s security system to support the long-term growth and success of the district.

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