Smart security cameras are now routinely used to protect homes as well as businesses. With artificial intelligence continuing to evolve, we’ll take a look today at whether it’s now possible to catch a crime before it happens with smart security cameras. Let’s face it, criminals these days take full advantage of technology using everything from card skimming machines purchased on the dark web to scouring social media for anyone boasting of an upcoming trip on Facebook, announcing to anyone with dishonorable intentions that their house will be ripe for plundering. While that might naturally seem a disturbing state of affairs, there’s a glittering silver lining for tech-savvy homeowners… The same technology deployed by criminals can be turned against them and we’ll explore today exactly how. Rather than a scattergun investigation of crime in general, we’ll focus primarily on burglary kicking off with how you can lower the chances of your home being invaded in the first place. We’ll round out with a broader look at violent crime and how police forces are striking back. First thing’s first, take action and make your home an unattractive prospect for a casual thief.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure: Stack The Odds in Your Favor With Smart Home Security
Burglars can be broadly categorized as either professional career criminals or pure opportunists driven by myriad reasons to try their hand at robbery. Fortunately, the vast bulk of pros won’t be walking down a regular street prowling for random opportunities. These high-level thieves use much more sophisticated approaches to targeting high net worth individuals so we can set those aside and think instead of the opportunist. Ask yourself this… If you were skulking around looking to slip in and out of a property, would you opt for the unprotected house or the home with a security system transparently in place? Based on that logic alone, you can minimize your risk of being burgled but is popping up a camera to catch a crime once it’s already happened enough?
Burglary In The Digital Age
The common stereotype of a cat burglar with a stocking mask creeping into a totally unsecured home is becoming less valid in our digital age. Resultantly, burglary, in general, is currently declining in the US. While that’s good news, don’t take it as an excuse to become complacent. The FBI’s 2015 crime clock
shows a couple of distressing statistics. Not only is a burglary committed every 20 seconds on the average, but only around 1 in 10 burglaries are also cleared up by arrest. Although sobering figures, things are getting tougher for burglars for 2 core reasons:
Burglary might now yield diminishing returns but it’s impossible to ignore the fact 3 home invasions happen every minute around-the-clock in America alone. Again, though, there’s some very encouraging news on that front thanks to the Internet of Things and the way home security systems are evolving at an incredible rate.
Cashless Society Provides Fewer Spoils: The burglar’s standard MO still involves heading to the master bedroom hunting for cash and jewelry. While they might still chance upon a Rolex or diamond ring, there’s far less likelihood the safe will be stacked with Benjamins in our growingly cashless society. Since almost 80% of thieves are targeting cold hard cash not gadgets, it’s more attractive for a burglar to hit a convenience store than a home
Evolution of Smart Security Systems: As home security systems become smarter, cheaper and easier to install, they are now within the reach of almost all homeowners, another poke in the eye for the twenty-first-century thief
Internet of Things Disrupting The Security Camera Business Model
Home security systems have typically followed a business model favoring the company at the expense of the consumer. Long, pricey contracts with ruinous early redemption penalties have always been the norm. This alone placed these systems out of the reach of all but the more affluent. To salt the wound, these systems were also first targeted at homeowners only. With more than 35% of Americans renting in 2018, again a huge chunk of the market was marginalized. As if the cost and mandatory homeownership were not bad enough, you also needed landline connectivity for hardwired security systems. Those 3 factors alone saw the old business model enjoy limited success while opening the market wide for new blood and innovative solutions to the age-old problem of burglary. Over the past 10 years, cellular coverage has improved beyond recognition bringing wireless sensors into the mainstream. You can now enjoy a robust security system without the added expense of a landline more than half of you don’t want and don’t have. As with all technology, the economy of scale keeps bringing prices down at the same time as functionality skyrockets. With those tools at their disposal, companies like SimpliSafe now deliver all the advantages of professional home monitoring without the triple bugbear of high upfront costs, restrictive contracts and the need for that antiquated landline.
Proudly protecting over 2 million Americans, SimpliSafe was one of the first companies to exploit the weaknesses of professionally monitored systems and this full 12-piece kit comes with a shower of advantages and very few meaningful drawbacks. With alarms visually verified, the authorities can confidently react to any security breach knowing the crime is real and in progress. The evidence is captured while there’s at least some chance the thief will be apprehended red-handed. You’ll get an alert from the SimpliSafe operator, and you can then arrange for them to immediately dispatch the police to your home even if you’re on the other side of the world. With a super-intelligent algorithm driving the motion sensors, you’ll cut right back on those tedious false triggers without compromising the integrity of your security system. While we’re not talking about Minority Report levels of pre-empting crimes, with SimpliSafe you’ll pay less with no contract and a fully wireless system capable of thwarting all but the most committed thief.
- Not only great value but currently available at almost half list price
- No need for a landline so enjoy purely wireless connectivity
We’ve used SimpliSafe as an example, but you’ve got plenty of options with these newer and more intelligent wireless home security systems. Take your time before committing and make sure you get a system tailored to the requirements of you and your family. Having examined the current state of play, we’ll take a quick trip back to the start of the decade to show how artificial intelligence has started to help police departments hit paydirt when it comes to catching a crime before it happens. This glimpse at the past will highlight how things are likely to continue developing in the future in the endless fight against criminals.
- Motion sensors highly sophisticated so you’ll get far fewer false alarms with pets under 50 pounds getting a free pass
- Camera packs night vision and you can access live streaming in full HD while the motion detection algorithm is intuitive and intelligent
How East Orange County Police Department Established a Crime Prevention Network
Police departments the world over have only ever enjoyed limited success by reacting to crimes. By definition, it’s already too late to stop things from happening and the chances of apprehending a criminal after the event remain relatively weak. East Orange is a city rife with drug problems and the crime that goes hand-in-glove with it. Back in 2009, the EOPD invested in a set of smart security cameras and this spiraled into the establishment of their Real-Time Crime Prevention Center. Sensors were rolled out in key crime hotspots throughout the city. When these sensors are triggered, operators can snap into action scanning live video fees. If anything suspicious activity is confirmed, a response unit can be instantly mobilized cutting that response time down to mere seconds. This alone gives the police a much stronger chance of catching the criminal before he’s even finished what he’s doing. In today’s climate of complaint, many law-abiding citizens vocally oppose this intrusive form of CCTV even while recognizing its benefits. The statistics say it all, though. Violent crime in East Orange has dropped by a full two-thirds since 2003, at least partially due to this approach to city-wide security. These sensors were developed by DigiSensory Technologies from Australia. Since being rolled out by the EOPD, they have started appearing elsewhere in New Jersey as well as internationally. The system is able to keep tabs on unusual behavior patterns whether it’s someone loitering with intent or a slow-rolling vehicle following a pedestrian. Since AI is still not quite capable of precisely analyzing all human interactions, the operators are necessary to introduce the human element while bringing down the chance of costly false alerts. The overarching weakness, though, is how rapidly a response unit can arrive on the scene in traffic-choked cities. Until that element improves, there will still be a pretty string chance the police arrive to find the perpetrator has already showed them a clean pair of heels. The introduction of an alarm-based system of automatically dispatching a squad car in less than 2 seconds has gone some way toward reducing response time but there’s still the issue of how quickly that team can be on the scene.
Artificial Intelligence: AISight Redefines CCTV With Reason-Based Analysis
Boston was shaken to the core back in 2013 with the Marathon Bombings prompting the Boston Police Department to think creatively and road test some highly advanced AI and surveillance tools from BRS Labs. An ex-Marine formed Behavioral Recognition Systems Inc (BRSLabs), a Texas-based software company with the strapline, “New World. New Security” back in 2005 and it’s now headed up by an ex-Secret Service agent. This pioneering company introduced an extremely advanced AI platform AISight (pronounced eyesight). Regular rule-based systems like those used by the EOPD are limited. When an object, whether a person or car, breaches a given area, a human operator is alerted and they decide if the alert warrants a police car being deployed. This double-handling is time-consuming for the operators and not the best use of resources. Rules need programming in and from there are totally inflexible unless reprogrammed. With AISight, those rules are thrown out the window along with the need for a human programmer. BRS are also now working on making more accurate predictions of crimes before they happen through the recognition of patterns liable to result in criminal activity. The bugbear of privacy and security concerns still tends to obscure the obvious benefits of this machine-based predictive approach to slashing crime. While in the US there are pretty stringent regulations on exactly where CCTV cameras can be placed, over in the UK, there’s 1 security camera for every 10 people with the average Brit caught on camera more than 300 times a day. Ultimately, this kind of predictive technology is now too firmly rooted and has too much to offer for those dissenting voices to carry much weight. All that remains is to see how artificial intelligence gets smarter still until it’s perfectly possible to catch most crimes before they’ve been successfully executed.
While science fiction movies and books are crammed with dystopian societies constantly and comprehensively monitored by machine intelligence capable of learning and evolving, we’re not quite there in reality. As you should see from today’s brief exploration, though, the days of being able to catch a crime before it happens with smart security cameras are pretty rapidly approaching. Our own take on smart home security systems can best be summarized with a quote from the legendary martial artist Bruce Lee: “Research your own experience. Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is essentially your own.” Adopt that methodology when you’re hunting for a security system rather than expecting a one-size-fits-all solution. If you want to throw a growling dog into the mix, go ahead. Plaster stickers advertising how your home is protected to dissuade any casual thief. Don’t overlook the importance of a rock-solid lock with hinges and a door to match. Make sure foliage doesn’t offer intruders a hiding place. Combine these offline security tactics with a hard-hitting professionally-monitored smart home security camera and keep your home safe and fully protected year-round. Want more information? Check out the smart home blog!