Cities continue to grow and technology continues to advance. So how can we use these amazing digital tools to tackle the challenges that have become just another aspect of urban life? And how do we see the big picture when it comes to local crime prevention?
The City of Helsingborg has developed some crime-fighting digital tools – an Incident Map and a Weekly Report tool. The Incident Map is a visualisation of data indicating where unwanted incidents have occurred around the city. This is collected from different sources, such as the police, fire department, security firms, and insurance companies, and clicking on a location gives more details on the incident itself. Heat maps, statistical hot spots, and other features add different dimensions for better analysis using a GIS (Geographic Information System). The Weekly Report tool is an extension of this model and compiles incidents reported around Helsingborg, both by week and in total.
So why aggregate data in this way? The goal is simple; identify and prioritise problems, examine the when, where, and how of criminal activity, and identify the underlying causes. In this way, the different actors involved in preventing crime can save time, work more effectively, and coordinate measures based on knowledge and evidence instead of rumours and preconceptions. A cause analysis can take a deeper look at the problem. Why are incidents common at this location? Why do certain incidents occur in different places? Sharing the same situational awareness is vital in getting to the root of these issues.
Measures are followed up to see what worked well and what didn’t, so that knowledge can be shared with other areas and municipalities. Research in the crime prevention area – with its different methods, theories, and designs – is used to evaluate measures and guide decision-making when it comes to keeping the city’s people safe. After all, a solution is only smart when it improves our quality of life! Read about other projects in Helsingborg that use smart tech for a safer city.