Smart cities employ ICT to correlate data and create intelligence. Computing power and analytics transform otherwise useless piles of data into decisions, insight and foresight. For example, armed with this intelligence smart cities predict crime, so that their law enforcement agencies can better protect citizens and make more efficient use of resources.
Additionally, thanks to the open government movement discussed in the Universal chapter, we’re seeing more and more crime data making its way into applications that everyday citizens can use. Buying a house and want to make sure you’re in a safe neighborhood? On vacation in a new city and want to steer clear of crime-infested areas? Chances are there’s an app that can help.
Finally, smart cities deliver this intelligence to decision makers. Public safety intelligence is about saving lives and property, so it must be accessible “no matter where, no matter what.” With ICT, smart public safety agencies can disseminate intelligence to multiple departments and thousands of employees so there is a common operating picture.
On the law enforcement side of public safety, intelligence will often lead to arrests, and the involvement of city courts and corrections systems. ICT plays a role in these systems as well. Proper data management systems can help courts make effective use of the enormity of information that they hold. Public defenders can level the playing field with private lawyers and their large staffs with the help of ICT.
Dependencies in public safety
Cities contemplating Improvements in public safety will want to take into account public safety’s dependencies on other city systems and services. For example, police, fire and emergency services all rely on communications, transportation systems and energy. In normal daily operations, police and fire departments rely on communications and energy systems to maintain real-time situational awareness of activities taking place across a city. And in the urgent case of a natural disaster, first responders will rely on the resilience and reliability of communications, electrical power and transportation systems to help them establish command and control, gain situational awareness, coordinate inbound aid resources and potentially outbound evacuations.