Today's technology presents even greater, untapped opportunities for incentivizing participation in neighborhood watch programs, increasing crime deterrence and criminal apprehension rates, and improving police responsiveness to neighborhood safety priorities.
The explosive growth of security CCTV cameras in large, medium, and small-sized cities across America is one such opportunity.
With that in mind, we developed the Interactive Community Alert Network (iCAN), a patented system that enhances neighborhood watch with web-based technology and security CCTV cameras (where available).
iCAN enables users to instantly and anonymously report suspicious activity occurring in their neighborhoods to law enforcement or security forces and collaborate online in real-time to solve community safety problems.
When iCAN users observe suspicious activity, they log on to the iCAN incident reporting page and complete a simple form describing the event. Reporters are presented with still photo images of local CCTV camera coverage areas to help them identify the event location.
Once iCAN online users tap or click on the area of the still photo image that corresponds to the event location, the local security CCTV camera turns to the area indicated for viewing by police/security iCAN monitors in real-time.
Security forces observe live camera video feeds of citizen reports and determine if the activity constitutes a criminal act or situation requiring police/security intervention. The feeds can be passed directly to police/security patrols in the area, giving them advance surveillance as they respond.
iCAN provides users not only with traditional tip line, text messaging, and public safety alert capabilities, but also with the ability to collaborate online with security forces throughout the reported event, receive investigative outcomes, and for security forces to view events in real-time.
GooD to know
According to National surveys, about 41 percent of Americans reside in communities covered by some form of neighborhood watch program.
This level of participation makes neighborhood watch the largest single organized crime-prevention activity in the nation.
Neighborhood crime watch programs can be valuable tools for police and security forces in reducing crime and connecting with the public. However, most crime watch programs have two serious drawbacks. They rely on personal contact, which often deters many citizens from "getting involved" for fear of reprisal. They also require community organizers to constantly motivate the community and coordinate their efforts with police forces.
Tried and true
iCAN was pioneered in New Jersey with tremendous success. The program’s ease of citizen participation, anonymity, and immediate police response and collaboration between reporters and security forces led to a significant drop in crime because would-be criminals perceived a lower community tolerance for crime and increased risk of detection and apprehension.
Equally important, it empowered iCAN users to work with law enforcement without fear of reprisal and significantly reduced fear-of-crime in program coverage areas.
Example of real-time Collaboration
Private citizen sees and reports a crime via app.
Police monitor the crime tip remotely.
If crime is viable, police are dispatched through AED network.
Police and iCAN users collaborate and see the problem through resolution.