The New York Police Department (NYPD) is making the future happen now with its NYPD2020 long-term strategic plan. The new plan promises to bring new techniques and technologies into the world of the police force. One of the projects of NYPD2020 includes the department’s first “smart car”, a police cruiser which can do more than just chase the bad guys.
Many of the latest gadgets have been installed in the new police cruiser making it just as smart as it is tough. These gadgets include two infrared cameras that will record and store any number that the cruiser comes across including license plate numbers and addresses. Surveillance cameras and air sensors record data of the environment surrounding the police car. On top of all of this technological wizardry, the car remains connected to police headquarters and sends them live feeds of the data it collects, allowing officials to stay alert about potential incidents. Police can also use the data to create a ‘crime map’ that shows which areas have more criminal activities and hence, a higher risk of potential incidents. Using this data, police can formulate a better strategy to fight crime in the area.
The prototype has been launched at the 84th precinct in Brooklyn Heights of the NYPD. The system which connects to the smart cruiser is already in place at the police headquarters and will be introduced into all precincts with the passage of time. The cruisers will act as drones in terms of collecting information from the streets and keeping officials up to date with the happenings in the city. Besides this, it will also allow officers to be better aware of the situation before they even reach the scene of the incident. With a network that connects police officers from different parts of the city, the NYPD will be able to use its manpower in a more effective manner than ever before.
The scanner on the police cruiser can read a license plate on a car and compare it to a database that will inform the police if that car is stolen, was involved in a crime or has outstanding infractions. The data is stored indefinitely in a database for future reference. The detector is attached to the rear windscreen and scans the air, checking radiation levels while sending the data to command center. Though there are police cruisers currently in service that have some of these features, this is the first time that one has been installed in all of them.
The “smart car” project was one of the 260 projects that were decided to be implemented immediately. Of course with a limited budget, the NYPD can only work on a certain amount of projects within a certain time. These projects will require timely updating and maintenance to remain effective, so the most effective and economically feasible projects are first ones to be implemented. The NYPD’s budget for the year 2013 was $9.6 billion, which sounds like a lot but isn’t enough to start new projects and maintain the police force of one of the world’s largest and busiest cities.