Our 21st-century cities are smart, using technology, interconnectivity, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve citizens’ lives. But are they safe? All that is needed is a look at the headlines to verify that today’s rapidly-changing urban environments are not as safe as they could be. Threats ranging from terrorist attacks to natural disasters to violent crime are a daily occurrence.
Smart Cities become Safe Cities when they use technology as a means of investigating and preventing crime, interacting with citizens, and ensuring the safety of the citizens that governments are pledged to protect. However, to date, there has been little authoritative data on citizens’ desires and expectations of their governments. Therefore, Unisys recently commissioned a global study conducted by research company YouGov, where a total of nearly 4,000 respondents in 10 cities around the world were surveyed to gauge their attitudes on a wide range of security-related issues. The U.S. cities covered by the survey were Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Cities outside of the U.S. covered by the survey were Amsterdam, Mexico City, Rome, Sao Paolo, Singapore, and Sydney.
U.S. city dwellers, like those surveyed in other countries, registered a high level of willingness to use online media to help law enforcement agencies combat crime – with 89 percent stating they would be willing to submit evidence digitally in some form.
Additionally, 79 percent of U.S. respondents said they would be willing to submit digital photos to law enforcement as evidence, and 65 percent would be willing to provide evidence via text messaging.
The new survey provides valuable insight into the findings of the 2017 Unisys Security Index, which indicated a strong willingness of the public to share information with police via their mobile devices, as well as the need for control over the data they share and how they share it.
The full report, “Safe Cities: Where Smart Becomes Safe,” demonstrates that police and other public safety and service agencies should embrace technologies that enable more communication methods and means with the public. Doing so will ultimately drive down criminal activity and improve crime clearance rates as public safety officials receive critical and time-sensitive information via digital means.
The report highlights areas of recommendations for law enforcement and government leaders to continue to advance and embrace digital government transformation practices and technologies. Making Smart Cities, Safer is something that can be achieved as governments transform and adopt new tools, processes, policies, and approaches.