East Orange, N.J., a city of 65,000, has fought a high crime rates with an arsenal of high-tech gadgets, from gunshot detection systems to software that can sift and analyze crime data almost instantaneously, reports the Associated Press. The results have been startling: Violent crime in East Orange has fallen by more than two-thirds since 2003.
Even with its crime rate plummeting, the city is going a step further by becoming the first in the U.S. to combine those systems with sensors, sometimes called “smart cameras,” that can be programmed to identify crimes as they unfold. East Orange police say the overall system can trim response time to mere seconds. Doubters, meanwhile, question whether the effect on crime justifies the price tag. The network has cost $1.4 million, of which $1.1 million came from grants and forfeiture funds. Some companies donated time and equipment in the early phases. The sensors, which work in concert with surveillance cameras, are designed to spot potential crimes by recognizing specific behavior: Someone raising fist at another person, for example, or a car slowing down as it nears a man walking on a deserted street late at night. Each new crime recorded is programmed into the database.