Philadelphia police implement new technology to fight crime

Police are using new technology to do their jobs better.

Over the past few years, the Philadelphia Police Department has incorporated new technologies to do their work better. Technically Philly, a blog about technology and its impact on Philadelphia, recently covered a few different ways that the Philadelphia police have incorporated technology, two of which are great examples of how law enforcement can use technology to fight crime.

Real Time Crime Center
One year ago, the Philadelphia Police Department launched Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) which incorporated various technologies to help police officers do their jobs better. This initiative is one of about a dozen that have been implemented throughout the United States.

"The Real-Time Crime Center (RTCC) leverages technology to provide 24×7 accurate information and investigative support to our law enforcement officers and detectives in the field, so that they can spend most of their time doing what they do best: problem-solving and making our city safer," the Philadelphia Police Foundation website says about the initiative.

RTCC relies on various kinds of technology to track and solve crimes, explained Technically Philly. This includes nearly 1,800 surveillance cameras located throughout the city; one comprehensive database that makes it much easier for officers to find information about past investigations, crimes and criminals; automated license plate scanners that can be used to track vehicles that may be implicated in crimes; analysis of tips called in by citizens; and deconfliction so that information that might be relevant to two separate investigations is shared. 

So far, wrote Technically Philly, the system has helped in a lot of ways. Since launching, the police department has processed 4,000 tips. And during the first nine months after the automated license scanner system was implemented, it led to 341 auto recoveries and 58 felony arrests. Police are confident that the technology will continue to help them track criminal activity, make arrests and solve cases. Computer monitoring software can also aid in the management of the RTCC's computer network so that  the system continues to run smoothly.

A better system for responding to 911 calls
Another new development in Philadelphia is the implementation of a new system to improve response time to 911 calls. The technology, called computer-aided dispatch, allows University of Pennsylvania and Temple University police to see city 911 calls that occur in their districts. If campus police are closer to the incident, then they can respond to the call and handle the emergency until the Philadelphia Police can arrive.

This relationship between the city police and campus police departments has already made a difference in 911 response times in certain parts of the city. According to Technically Philly, before the partnership was established, some low-priority 911 calls could wait in a queue for hours. Now, in certain parts of the city, those calls can be responded to much more quickly. So far, Penn police respond to about 135 city calls per month, which is 2 percent of the total monthly calls they receive. Temple police respond to 300 city calls a month, which is 30 percent of the calls they receive.

Another benefit of the computer-aided dispatch technology is the increase in communication between city and campus police. Campus police are now much more aware of crime and 911 calls in their areas and can work with city police to keep their communities safe.

What do you think about police using technology in their work? Can you think of other ways that police departments could operate more efficiently? Please let us know by commenting below! 

Heman Mehta

Heman, aka: He-Man, is the Master of Deep Freeze. He has been with Faronics for more than 8 years and is (of course) the biggest evangelist of Deep Freeze. When not living the "PM Lifestyle", you'll find him travelling the world—his last count was at about 30 countries visited.