Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

In NJ, Higher Tech Lowers Crime

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the can-you-say-false-positive dept.

Crime 219

crimeandpunishment sends along this snip from an AP story carried on Skunkpost.com: "High tech means low crime in a New Jersey city that has used an arsenal of advanced technology to sharply lower one of the highest crime rates in the nation. And now East Orange is poised to become the first city in the country to take high tech crime fighting to a whole new level ... surveillance cameras with sensors that can be programmed to identify crimes as they unfold."

cancel ×

219 comments

Doesn't really matter. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32635394)

All the niggers will just hit the next town over.

Re:Doesn't really matter. (-1, Offtopic)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635450)

All the niggers will just hit the next town over.

All the bigoted assholes will just hit slashdot to discriminate and post their hate. Or maybe just you will. Either way, get a life, grow up, and join the 21st century.

Re:Doesn't really matter. (-1, Offtopic)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635600)

Agreed, black people(those of African descent) are not the problem...

Religion is the problem. Imaginary men in the sky? what the fuck is this, the 13th century? And some of the motherfuckers even have the nerve to post on this science and technology website. After you're done apologizing for Galileo and Copernicus, and stem cell research, and being related to just about every ill on the planet, you can collectively off yourselves.

Take a cue from the Heaven's Gate [wikipedia.org] cult and Just Do it(TM). [buamai.com]

Re:Doesn't really matter. (-1, Troll)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635678)

See, computers are racist because they make them too hard to use. They need to make them easy like TV so people in the community can have good jobs. Computers are made by whites and Chinese, and they don't like it when we try to get ahead.

Re:Doesn't really matter. (-1, Offtopic)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635786)

Those of African descent get the last laugh: They constitute the majority of athletes playing for the NFL and the NBA, and even the second-string bench-warmer makes ten times as much as the average Caucasian or Chinese systems administrator or programmer.

Additionally, they have huge penises. No problems with the ladies there.

Howya feel now, Whitey?!

Hate crimes. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635834)

Bigots have to worry about becoming criminals twice.

Re:Doesn't really matter. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32635928)

According to Wikipedia, the population of East Orange, New Jersey is ~90% nigger. I think it is a safe assumption that the majority of crime there is committed by niggers, and it stands to reason that if the risk of getting caught is increased significantly then they will commit their crimes elsewhere. So I fail to see how my original comment was not on the mark. If my use of the word "nigger" offends you, perhaps you should follow your own advice.

Crime rate is lower in facilities... (0)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635426)

Crime rate is lower in facilities under high surveillance. Turn a city into a facility under high surveillance and it should help lowering the crime rate as well.

Re:Crime rate is lower in facilities... (2, Insightful)

iammani (1392285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635462)

[citation needed]

Re:Crime rate is lower in facilities... (2, Interesting)

vandelais (164490) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635790)

Any casino

Re:Crime rate is lower in facilities... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32635864)

Debatable. One could argue the casino is the crime.

Re:Crime rate is lower in facilities... (1)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635976)

Cameras stop cheating, not crime. With hundreds of full time security guys walking around, you don't need cameras to quell violence. The only analogue to NJ would be if you put 2 cops on every street corner.

CCTV cameras fail to prevent crime in the UK (5, Informative)

transporter_ii (986545) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635500)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/may/06/ukcrime1 [guardian.co.uk]

Massive investment in CCTV cameras to prevent crime in the UK has failed to have a significant impact, despite billions of pounds spent on the new technology, a senior police officer piloting a new database has warned. Only 3% of street robberies in London were solved using CCTV images, despite the fact that Britain has more security cameras than any other country in Europe.

Re:Crime rate is lower in facilities... (4, Insightful)

Tamran (1424955) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635576)

detection != prevention

Re:Crime rate is lower in facilities... (0)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635650)

As I recall(sorry, can't find the link), a guy sued a jail because the other guy in his holding cell beat the shit out of him, despite the presence of the camera, which nobody was monitoring. At least people in public have the option of running away.

In a past Slashdot article, there was the suggestion of crowdwourcing public surveillance cameras. So, if I don't like you, you get thrown in a holding cell. You can only hope that somebody is monitoring the camera there, too.

Re:Crime rate is lower in facilities... (1)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635696)

there was the suggestion of crowdwourcing public surveillance cameras. So, if I don't like you, you get thrown in a holding cell

Logic?

crime rate != incarceration rate. (0, Redundant)

elucido (870205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635796)

Everyone talks about crime rates and lowering the crime rate. Most criminals are poor so lowering the crime rate would mean that if you aren't rich and sheltered that people you know, grew up with, will probably be going to jail so as to win political points and "lower" the crime rate.

Lowering the crime rate should not be the goal. Protecting citizens should be the goal.

Re:Crime rate is lower in facilities... (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635822)

I totally agree, but if the detection rate is high enough, then people start to behave differently and you do not need prevention programs because most people are just too afraid to do anything that goes against what the governing people define as the law.

That was the point I was trying to make. You may call that irony if you wish. I am not saying surveillance, police state and totalitarian regimes are the way to go.

Go talk to some people who have lived under a totalitarian regime. I was just trying to draw a parallel between a city under high surveillance and totalitarian regimes, a little irony doesn't hurt sometimes. ;-)

As well, note that we are not talking about surveillance similar to what is done in the U.K. We are talking about detecting crimes in progress and gun shut detectors that would trigger immediate intervention from the police forces.

What happens in case of a false alarm ?

Police now has a valid reason to go into your place. They might find something to bring charges in your place that is unrelated to the alarm. If they don't, well you still get the idea they may come into your place anytime even if you didn't do anything wrong. The scare tactic begin to take place.

I had police rushing into my apartment because they said they received a 911 call coming from my apartment. Of course this was B.S. They searched my whole place to make sure I didn't hide my dead girlfriend in some closet. They said that I had to let them in, that they didn't need a search warrant because of the 911 call. They finally left without even excusing themselves for disturbing me.

I called the phone company the next day about this and on the same day they had somebody in the telephone pole in my backyard. They phoned back saying that they found the problem and that they were sorry about that. I also had noticed dropped packed on the DSL link on that line so I believe there was indeed a problem with the line ;-)

Police do take advantage of false alarm to conduct random searches because they can do so without a warrant. I told the police many times that there were no 911 call made but they just wouldn't believe me.
 

Re:Crime rate is lower in facilities... (2, Insightful)

AnotherUsername (966110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32636020)

I'm sorry, but I completely disagree with your sentiment. If there was a problem with your line that caused a 911 call to be made, you cannot fault the police with following protocol. How can they know that it was a problem with your line that caused the call to take place? How are they to know that you didn't do something to your girlfriend that caused her to call 911, only for you to hang up the phone before she could do or say anything? In that case, it is perfectly logical that they would conduct a search of your apartment in order to ensure that you didn't do something further to her because she tried to call for help.
I mean, why should the police believe you that there was nothing wrong? Because you said so? Sorry, not a good enough reason. Had something actually happened, and they simply left because you said there was some kind of mistake, and a body was later found, the public outcry would have been enormous.

The police just can't win. We expect them to do their jobs, but when they do do their jobs, people get angry because they might be a bit inconvenienced. I just don't understand it.

Re:Crime rate is lower in facilities... (2, Insightful)

glazener (943321) | more than 4 years ago | (#32636088)

Seems that the appropriate response would have depended entirely on the contents of the 911 call. If there was specific, actionable information in the 911 call, then that would be one thing. If the caller said "Help me, my boyfriend is beating me and I can't get away." it seems reasonable to enter without the owner's permission. If the call was simply a hang up, or a call for a non-criminal emergency, then there should be no reason for the police to enter without permission. In many places, 911 calls are a matter of public record. Seems like it would be reasonable for the GP to find out exactly the contents of the call. If the police were unreasonable or acting outside of policy, then it would be reasonable to complain, and seek appropriate restitution.

Re:Crime rate is lower in facilities... (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#32636160)

There was no content, only a callerid shown on the dispatcher console.

The defect on the line was causing it to go on-hook/off-hook randomly. The way rotary dials work is just the same.

1) Go off hook for 1 sec.
2) Quickly go on-hook for 1/10 to 3/4 of a second nine times.
3) Stay off-hook for 1 sec.
4) Quickly go on-hook for 1/10 to 3/4 of a second one time.
5) Stay off-hook for 1 sec.
6) Quickly go on-hook for 1/10 to 3/4 of a second one time.
7) Stay off-hook

There you go, you have just called 911. Of course there will be no content but police will show up at your place if you do have enhanced 911 where the dispatcher sees your callerid/address.

The police then thinks you hung up the phone before your now dead girlfriend had a chance to say anything to 911. They will search under the bed, closest, look in the bathtub and look for traces of fighting or violence.

Re:Crime rate is lower in facilities... (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#32636102)

That's the problem, because in a city with gun shot detectors, crime in progress detectors and what not, you will end up with more and more false alarms justifying the police to act without a warrant.

At the limit, in an a city under hyper-surveillance, you may as well forget about the police needing a warrant in any case.

Also, I never said the police didn't do job and I remained polite with them because I was understanding what was happening. Funnily enough, if I had told them to go to hell, they probably would have broken into my place and arrested me for disobeying police orders.

Incarceration rate is more important. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635778)

What is more important is how many of your friends and family will be locked up because of all the increased surveillance?
Crime rate is a very vague standard of measurement. They didn't say violent crime. They didn't say which crimes. They just said the crime rate is lower which could mean anything or nothing at all. It doesn't mean murder is lower, or rape is lower, it's no different than saying the economy is growing even if its a jobless recovery.

The incarceration rate is too high, and unless this technology can lower the incarceration rate while helping to reduce the rate of violent crime I don't see how this technology will help us. In fact it may make us all into criminals and give the police the power to arrest anyone for any reason.

Re:Incarceration rate is more important. (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635890)

That's exactly what I am thinking too. My GP post should have had a "irony" tag.

In fact, I just said basically the same as you say here, with a personal experience to back it up :

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1692390&cid=32635822 [slashdot.org]

Done! (1)

schmidt349 (690948) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635430)

This is clearly a well thought-out plan. Why, what could possibly go wrong?

Re:Done! (2, Insightful)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635480)

This is clearly a well thought-out plan. Why, what could possibly go wrong?

In this day and age, it doesnt really matter how well thought out such a plan is when it involves information or people. There are always those who have the ability to and will abuse any system. Does that mean we should stop all innovation because of those who will abuse them? Or that instead we should weigh the potential for abuse against the potential for good in determining what to do with such ideas? Or plan in as many safety measures and punishments as possible to prevent abuse?

I know your (possibly rhetorical) question is the expected slashdot normal obligatory response for such things, but on the other hand, there has been quite a bit of innovation and ideas that have been fought every step of the way because of such opinions, dogma and other factors. As this system leaves in the human factor for actually deciding if an action is necessary (ie: sending cops), and then leaves the cops deciding what actions to take, it doesnt seem any more open for abuse than the current surveillance system in place. Now... if the system sent automated drones out to deal with everything it thought was a crime... that would be a different story. But fortunately, we are probably still a long way away from such technology - much less the application of such technology even if it did exist.

Re:Done! (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635516)

Now... if the system sent automated drones out to deal with everything it thought was a crime... that would be a different story.

Yes it would, and it's called RoboCop [imdb.com] ;-)

Re:Done! (2, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635780)

We don't need to look for ways on how this could go wrong - the constant surveillance is wrong by itself.

Re:Done! (1)

irtza (893217) | more than 4 years ago | (#32636154)

How about the high violent crime rate? The fact that people don't stop at lights out of fear? Those are most definitely not wrong. Its better to let robbers have their victims kneel at the corner of the street and be executed than to have a surveillance system.

What people feel is wrong about the surveillance system is the potential for abuse - and their is tons of it, but we don't live in a world where people go down the street holding hands while skipping and singing songs. The very reason people fear surveillance is its potential for abuse by the same villains that walk the street.

Did it ever occur that if surveillance was open and all video was available to all people that it may actually prove beneficial? Openness doesn't need to stop at software. Public areas being truly public may have more benefits than you may think. Perhaps if you could record your own actions through the day, it could counter any interruption or hacking with the grid. There is a lot of room for abuse, but also a lot of room for securing the safety of thousands [cityrating.com] of people.

Re:Done! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32635532)

"Will we next create false gods to rule over us? How proud we have become, and how blind."

- Sister Miriam Godwinson, We Must Dissent [youtube.com]

Re:Done! (2, Insightful)

Entropius (188861) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635720)

The irony is that Christians, which Miriam represented in the game, have inflicted a terrible, awful false god upon the West for the last two millennia.

All gods are false, and the sooner we do away with them as anything other than myths the better.

Re:Done! (2, Informative)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635848)

As if all the wrongs of mankind can be layed at the feet of religion.

As if, if there were godless people, they wouldn't just find another belief system or philosophy to justify doing the same things.

Owning faults (1)

sjbe (173966) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635914)

As if all the wrongs of mankind can be layed at the feet of religion.

All? Certainly not. A great multitude of wrongs certainly can be traced to religion without any question on the matter. Numerous past and ongoing examples of wars, torture, terrorism, bigotry, genocide, and more are so frequent as to cause despair.

As if, if there were godless people, they wouldn't just find another belief system or philosophy to justify doing the same things.

Perhaps but at least it wouldn't be because of mythology.

Re:Owning faults (1)

AnotherUsername (966110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32636040)

One thing that I find around here that so many people on this site bring up the bigotry that has occurred because of religion, yet anytime religion comes up, a majority of people around here love to spout off how much they hate religious people because they are religious. Pure bigotry. Yet religion is the cause of bigotry, apparently.

Re:Owning faults (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32636074)

Disagreeing with and being critical of religion is not the same thing as hating religious people. Geez.

Re:Done! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32635916)

Don't put words in the posters mouth.

What you wrote is (A) not the point and (B) hopelessly defeatist.

What religion does. (1)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635926)

Religion effectively turns otherwise sane people into what I like to call supermaterialists. Suddenly, a rock or a cave or other geographic location becomes worth more than the resources it can provide. Suddenly a drawing of a religious figure is enough to kill over. Suddenly you think there's an invisible person who will "sort things out" if you decide to kill a bunch of women and children.

Religion introduces nothing but tools to conquer reason in order to get ignorant followers to go along with whatever plan it's leaders have cooked up. It's why the all the nations who have clung to fundamentalism are in last place in pretty much every metric you can think of, and why America is quickly headed in the same direction.

Re:Done! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32636010)

All gods are false, and the sooner we do away with them as anything other than myths the better.

Amen, brother. Even if you're only preaching to the converted.

(After all, it's not truly irony unless it's bitter ;)

Re:Done! (-1, Troll)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 4 years ago | (#32636092)

I know God is real, Jesus is LORD.

I can't see how God hurts the world since he teaches us to love one another and forgive each other.

Indeed we're called to love people who even do evil to us. God is good, so he wants everyone to do good regardless of what happens to them. If you can philosophically explain why being good, forgiving and loving at all times is bad for humanity, I'd like to hear it. But if you just want to pick out "Christians" in name only behaving badly in the news, I don't want to hear it. The news seldom covers Christian missionaries helping the poor because it happens so often its no longer newsworthy.

Re:Done! (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 4 years ago | (#32636206)

This is the same God in whose name we slaughtered Muslims and burned witches in the Middle Ages, in whose name we persecute gays today, and in whose name we restrict the teaching of biology and human sexuality?

Some Christians may well live the life of altruism and kindness attributed to Jesus. (In my experience in the USA, the ones that do are precisely those denominations that are least obsessed with the mythology: the Episcopalians, for instance.) But you can forgive your neighbor and feed the poor based on purely secular ethics, too; if you want to compare charity between religious organizations and secular ones, I believe that MSF or Amnesty International is a little bit more purely altruistic than your average bunch of missionaries.

Re:Done! (0, Troll)

NonSequor (230139) | more than 4 years ago | (#32636104)

There are two distinct things: religion and what mankind has made of religion.

Only fools confuse the two.

There are reasonable arguments, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32636140)

and circular ones.

Only fools confuse the two.

Re:There are reasonable arguments, (1)

NonSequor (230139) | more than 4 years ago | (#32636246)

and circular ones.

Only fools confuse the two.

I responded to a quick swipe at religion with a quick swipe at dismissal of religion.

I did not believe in God as a child. However, now I have reasons sufficient to convince myself, but they are contingent on things I've learned over the course of my life. I do not believe I could deliver a convincing explanation of my beliefs to someone who has had different experiences from me.

Re:Done! (2, Informative)

Entropius (188861) | more than 4 years ago | (#32636210)

Mankind made religion; differentiating between what we made and what we made of what we made isn't terribly relevant.

Re:Done! (0, Troll)

dfenstrate (202098) | more than 4 years ago | (#32636196)

And in the void left by the eradication of religion, what do you think would fill in? Utopian enlightenment and a dreamy new world of scientific achievement and the finest arts?

The christian religion has served a vital role in the development of the advanced civilization that has given you the philosophical tools and freedom to criticize it as 'terrible, awful.'

I think you would find that something much more terrible than Christianity would rush in to fill the void, and all your grandiose dreams of philosophical perfection would be for naught. We're dealing with failliable humans here, not your enlightened select.

I used to think as you do. Then I grew up, and realized that not everyone before me was a complete moron, and the things they did served a purpose. 'Controlling the people' is the obvious dorm-room bullshit session reply. 'Teaching the people to control themselves' is part of the actual equation.

Whether or not any of it true isn't provable (Lollerskates!?@?! can't prove or disprove the easter bunny either!). Whether or not we gain by acting as if it were true is something you can observe by comparing various societies around the globe. When doing so, try to set aside the typical juvenile rejection of your parents and/ or the institutions that have been a part of your life thus far.

Re:Done! (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635818)

false gods

Tautologies are not welcome on /.

Turn the cameras on the politicians who passed it. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635842)

And on the voters who voted for this crud. Surveillance will be abused for political gain and really thats the only reason any of these politicians care to lower the crime rate. You don't see any of these politicians trying to create jobs as a way to lower the crime rate bu they don't mind building prisons and putting cameras everywhere?

What We Really Need In NJ Are ... (5, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635434)

What we really need in NJ are cameras that can be programmed to identify political corruption as it unfolds. Oh wait, we already have them, they're called 'regular cameras pointed at our politicians'.

Re:What We Really Need In NJ Are ... (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635898)

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!! Ha ha ha ha ah ahhhahahhahahaha! Hahahah!!!!! Haaaa hahahaaaaaa hahahaha!!!! AAA!!!!! HHH!HAHHAHAA!!!! hahahah ha hahhaha !!!!! You fonhy hahahaha hah ha hah ha hah hahaha ha ha hah ahahh !!!! FOOONI!!! HAHAH !!!!@!!

Re:What We Really Need In NJ Are ... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32636214)

What we really need in NJ are cameras that can be programmed to identify political corruption as it unfolds. Oh wait, we already have them, they're called 'regular cameras pointed at our politicians'.

The only problem is that the "crime detection software" for those cameras pointed at politicians, aka "The News Media" are too busy trying to replicate the success of Fox News where shouting matches and hate-fests are more important than illumination or truth-finding.

Testing such systems is the only way to improve... (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635442)

While there are proponents and doubters for such systems, real world application and testing of these technologies are probably the only way to improve them. Is it a waste of money, as some detractors claim? I wish I knew. Perhaps analyzing the crime statistics and costs related to them in contrast to the monies spent would give a clearer picture. Then there's the factor of "a life saved... is priceless" - in which such systems (the existing one, and the "smart" one) may be crucial in saving someone's life; for instance, a mugging victim who was stabbed and left for dead in a deserted street where they otherwise would not be spotted until they had bled to death, or in assisting the police in arriving at the scene of a fight before it gets out of hand and a life is lost.

Either way, such systems will at least help expand and mature this particular area of computers, in a way beneficial to areas other than crime prevention and fighting. It will surely help with any system that is required to interact with human beings (robotics, AI, action and identity sensing systems, various medical systems that are or will be tasked with monitoring and determining the state of certain patient groups in hospitals and institutions, etc).

Re:Testing such systems is the only way to improve (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32635464)

Privacy and freedom are more important than a few lives. After all, what is the point of living if you have to do it under constant control and observation? I'd rather be dead.

Re:Testing such systems is the only way to improve (1, Insightful)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635508)

Privacy and freedom are more important than a few lives. After all, what is the point of living if you have to do it under constant control and observation? I'd rather be dead.

What part of the fact that cameras are already in place did you miss? And what privacy is being invaded on a public street where there is no expectation of privacy (except by idiots hiding under AC status here instead of posting under their account). And what freedom is being infringed by this system? The "freedom" of criminals to commit crimes? Remember, the system does not act on the event in person. It points it out to a human being who then decides what to do... just like as if the human being (cop) saw it in person.

Re:Testing such systems is the only way to improve (2, Insightful)

Entropius (188861) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635738)

There are levels of the assumption of privacy. On a public street I expect that anything I do might be photographed, but I don't expect that any party is keeping an extensive enough set of recordings of me to plot all my movements and my daily activities.

Even though photography in public in general is legal and violates no rights, it's unclear whether a systematic campaign to photograph such a huge swath of someone's activities that you can extract overall patterns of behavior does. If a private person did this they might be prosecuted (rightfully so) for stalking.

Re:Testing such systems is the only way to improve (1)

vandelais (164490) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635810)

The campaign of John Edwards lives on.

Re:Testing such systems is the only way to improve (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635966)

There are levels of the assumption of privacy. On a public street I expect that anything I do might be photographed, but I don't expect that any party is keeping an extensive enough set of recordings of me to plot all my movements and my daily activities.

So, what you are saying is you dont own a cell phone?

Re:Testing such systems is the only way to improve (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635850)

So you wouldn't see anything with effectively having a cop in each street corner? The words "police state" come to mind... how long 'till facecrime?

The real danger is the gradual erosion of individual liberties through automation, integration, and interconnection of many small, separate record-keeping systems, each of which alone may seem innocuous, even benevolent, and wholly justifiable.

Wrong reason? (5, Insightful)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635488)

From TFA:

The results have been startling: Violent crime in East Orange has fallen by more than two-thirds since 2003, according to state police statistics.

...

Jose Cordero was hired as East Orange's police director in 2004 after overseeing the New York Police Department's anti-gang efforts. Crime in East Orange had dropped off after the crack epidemic of the 1980s and 90s but then rose dramatically in the early 2000s as gangs began to put down roots.

It seems more likely to me that Cordero himself is the reason for falling crime rate rather than any high tech stuff (which just tends to move crime to other locations). I'm suspicious because, for example, in the UK where there is massive investment in surveillance cameras, my understanding is that they have found that they are mainly useful for providing evidence for prosecuting the criminals after the fact, and even that is only in something less than 25% of the cases.

Lowering the "crime rate" does not make us safer. (4, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635824)

Lowering the violence rate, lowering specific types of crime which have victims may make us safer. Lowering the "crime rate." usually raises the incarceration rate which often lowers the income of families making them even more desperate and likely to commit crimes in the future.

Lowering the crime rate is a way to increase the incarceration rate and win political points. It's not going to make anyone safer to for example make massive arrests of drug possession, or to arrest thousands of prostitutes, but thats usually the kind of crime they go after because it's easier. They'll probably go arrest a bunch of small time pot dealers, and crackheads, maybe some prostitutes, and say they lowered the crime rate in the city.

Re:Lowering the "crime rate" does not make us safe (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32636168)

As a criminologist I have to say this interpretation of the relationship between crime and incarceration is... well... not supported by the evidence. The relationship between incarceration rates and crime rates is loose at best and this has been demonstrated both in cross national studies and in longitudinal studies of the United States and other western nations. For example, in the United States incarceration rates have risen dramatically and consistently in the last 40 years while crime rates have fluctuated considerably. The factor that has the biggest impact on the incarceration rate is actually changes in sentencing strategies. Changes in sentencing strategies are often only loosely related to crime rates, if at all, however.

Re:Lowering the "crime rate" does not make us safe (2, Interesting)

PrecambrianRabbit (1834412) | more than 4 years ago | (#32636236)

Whether a lowering of the crime rate corresponds to an increase in safety depends on which crimes are being reduced, of course, but typically a reduction in crime rate corresponds to a reduction in violent and property crimes.

Now, padding arrest rates with drug possession/prostitution arrests may be political posturing, but arrest rate is not the same as crime rate.

Re:Wrong reason? (4, Interesting)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635992)

It's arbitrary to pick a time interval and compute the change in the crime rate from it. Why pick 2003 as the starting time? Why not 2000, or even 1980? Those kinds of soundbytes are great for politics, but not so good for true understanding.

At the very least, a plot of the data as a curve over all the years that are available _should_ be expected.

This is dangerous. (4, Insightful)

Luke has no name (1423139) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635492)

Besides the oft-quoted Ben Franklin line, I do believe giving a government too much power in watching the populace is dangerous for liberty. Should the legitimate need arise to break a law or subvert the government, corrupt individuals will have power to stop people even more easily.

On the fliip side, the ubiquity of increased surveillance available to the PUBLIC as well as to the government (they are two different things) might prevent the government from getting away with the shit it does now.

I have to throw in a quote: "With great power comes great responsibillity." I don't think the government has enough of the latter to justify the amount of the former it possesses.

Re:This is dangerous. (3, Insightful)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635632)

Should the legitimate need arise to break a law or subvert the government, corrupt individuals will have power to stop people even more easily.

Indeed... I think there is an opportunity here to design systems that are resistant to government misuse.

For example, imagine a system where the standard "camera on every street corner" has limited or no networking capability, and only records an encrypted record of what it sees/hears to local storage in a 48-hour loop. Such a camera wouldn't help police catch criminals in the act, of course, but after a crime had been committed, the police could go and physically retrieve the storage unit from the camera(s) at the scene of the crime as evidence. The police would need to get a search warrant that included the decryption key for the storage units, otherwise the data would do them no good even if they surreptitiously gathered the physical drives.

Something like that might make improper use of the surveillance footage more difficult, and therefore less likely.

Drug dealers and prostitutes of course. (1, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635924)

This type of surveillance technology wont catch a sophisticated white collar criminal. This technology wont catch organized criminal mafias. It wont catch anyone but the dumbest criminals. This is designed to win political points by making the neighborhood look like it's safe when it really is more dangerous than ever. The police get to look like they are doing their job when they arrest hundreds of prostitutes and thousands of drug dealers. This technology is not going to stop any of the gangs, mafias, or white collar criminals. This technology will only be used to harass the dumb poor. If you are poor and dumb, you better be scared.

You are 20 years too late. (0, Redundant)

elucido (870205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635856)

Of course it's dangerous. It's dangerous because their goal is to "lower the crime rate" indiscriminately. This often means increasing the incarceration rate. This often means increasing the arrest rate for victimless crimes.

Why don't we focus on the incarceration rate and seek to lower it to as low as possible? Why don't we seek to decrease the arrest rate for victimless crimes? Anybody have an answer that isn't racist, sexist, or elitist?

It does work - first hand account (5, Interesting)

shashark (836922) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635556)

So I lived in the mission area of SF for a while earlier this year. This place was bad - post the 21st street or so. A friend of mine was mugged & beaten badly at 24th and Mission (where Bart is) at 9 in the evening.

Last year they started installing cameras all around (very visible effort - you could see cameras all around you) - and the crime rate (atleast the mugging rate) went down immediately. Everyone here agrees that the drop in crime can be attributed to the street cameras. This opinion is also shared by business & hotel owners whom I know and meet.

I do think nothing can improve Tenderloin though.

Re:It does work - first hand account (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635688)

Surveillance tech will eventually improve and become useful. Because it is primitive now is no reason to give up on it. The goal of total battlefield awareness is valid for any battlefield.

Re:It does work - first hand account (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635758)

The fact that law enforcement treats the arena in which they work as a battlefield means that they have already failed.

Law enforcement should not be a war.

It should be a war but not on the poor. (0, Troll)

elucido (870205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635906)

Of course law enforcement is going to be war. The organized criminals are warriors and so too must the cops be. The problem is most of the laws aren't designed to keep ordinary people safe. The laws as they are today can be used to arrest anyone for just about any reason. You don't have to cause harm to anyone else, and there need not be any victims. You can break the law just because a cop pulled you over and you had something in your possession you shouldnt have had. This could be anything from drugs, to being a lobster of the wrong size.

Useful for what? The war on drugs? (0, Troll)

elucido (870205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635896)

The problem isn't the technology. It's the goal. The goal is to lower the crime rate, not to reduce violence or keep citizens safe. Since most everyone is a criminal or knows a criminal, this brings increased risk to everybody in the neighborhood.

We have an economy where nobody can find work, lowering the crime rate only resutls in making the people who are already desperate even more desperate.

Re:It does work - first hand account (4, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635812)

Last year they started installing cameras all around (very visible effort - you could see cameras all around you) - and the crime rate (atleast the mugging rate) went down immediately.

As I recall from the reports in England and other places that have done the same thing an initial drop in crime is common. But unless there are other efforts made to keep crime low, the effect wears off and crime rates return to nearly the same levels. My impression from what I read is that it's due to the novelty wearing off and to the criminals realizing a camera can't arrest them or stop them or really do anything until long after they've left the scene. Especially if the camera feeds aren't even monitored in real time - which is apparently where the interest in having the cameras recognize when a crime being committed comes from, so they can alert a human in real-time. I say good luck with that.

Re:It does work - first hand account (0, Troll)

elucido (870205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635930)

What crime is dropping? Lets stop discussing it in terms of "dropping of the crime rate" as if thats saying anything. That's like saying "keep it real" or "yes we can", it's a meaningless political slogan.

Re:It does work - first hand account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32636228)

Hmm, instead of marking every single last one of this guys posts as troll, why dont you debate the issue? So far I havent seen one reason for ALL of his posts to be marked troll.

They need better statistics and goals. (0, Troll)

elucido (870205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635888)

If the goal were to lower the "mugging rate" most of us would support that. If the goal were to lower the "murder rate" most of us would support that too. What we don't support is lowering the "crime rate" because this goal is indiscriminate. Lowering the crime rate in a recession can have many unintended consequences or perhaps they are intended?

Some questions to ask are does lowering the crime rate result in an increase in the incarceration rate? If it does then lowering the crime rate does not make us safer. Does lowering the crime rate increase the arrest rate for victimless crimes? If it does then it does not make us safer.

The goal should be to lower the rate of VIOLENT CRIME. The goal should not be to lower the rate of ALL CRIME. The goal should be to lower the arrest rate for VICTIMLESS CRIME. The goal should be to lower the INCARCERATION RATE.

Re:It does work - first hand account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32636038)

Really? 'Cause I lived on 22nd St & Valencia (and now by Dolores Park) until recently and never noticed a difference. The area around the 24th St station isn't bad at all; it sure as fuck is better than the 16th St station's area that I still use -- and even there, it's pretty hard to get into trouble. I wouldn't recommend 16th St to women alone after night, although my female roommates have no problem. Everyone I know would fucking laugh their ass off if they heard 24th St called a bad area; sorry your friend had a bad time, but that doesn't make the area bad.

Re:It does work - first hand account (1)

cats-paw (34890) | more than 4 years ago | (#32636134)

the real question is: why, if it was a known high-crime area, wasn't there stepped up patrols of police ?

that would be a deterrent too, and the better one.

Re:It does work - first hand account (1)

PrecambrianRabbit (1834412) | more than 4 years ago | (#32636268)

Without disputing whether cameras helped at that location, I need to add that there's no substitute for beat cops (preferably on foot) in the locations where they're needed. Cameras can act as a deterrent, but they're actually not that great, and the effectiveness goes down as more are installed.

People seem to want a cheap technological solution, when in fact the problem is a human one. Police officers are more expensive than cameras, but they do a heck of a lot better job.

BEFORE they unfold. (0)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635584)

This is nothing. My startup technology detects crimes BEFORE they unfold.

Re:BEFORE they unfold. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32635732)

Yes, but there are only the three precogs. How do you expect to make it scalable?

Re:BEFORE they unfold. (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635968)

This is nothing. My startup technology detects crimes BEFORE they unfold.

In Soviet Russia, crime detects YOU!

Compounded Charges... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32635648)

They are actually charging users with much higher crimes by adding up all of their purchases. I've had friends that have been charged with their entire years worth of purchases in a single case.

Rather than charging on a single offense for purchasing a small quantity of heroin in Jersey City. They are waiting until the charge can be trumped up to 6 months of their use. So instead of being charged with purchasing a single gram (bundle)... they are being charged with purchasing 400grams over the course of 6 months to a year, bringing long prison sentences to habitual users.

The high charges are definitely a deterrent for users, though I hardly think these charges are justified.

Re:Compounded Charges... (1, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635710)

Solution, don't buy in the first place. No means no.

BTW, I favor handing out free smack and other substances which don't cause behavior problems.

The problem with heroin is that people steal to get money to buy it. They have every right to destroy themselves.

Re:Compounded Charges... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32635776)

Solution, don't buy in the first place. No means no.

If you say so. But I would have thought that stealing it was even more dangerous.

Re:Compounded Charges... (1)

iammani (1392285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635826)

Then prohibit stealing, not heroin. Make stealing a much severe crime.

Re:Compounded Charges... (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635836)

The high charges are definitely a deterrent for users, though I hardly think these charges are justified.

They are definitely not. I would imagine when the law was created it was assumed that someone busted buying a single gram has probably bought several in the past. It sounds like they're now giving small time users the punishments that were originally designed for heavy dealers.

Imagine if they did that with real crimes (2, Insightful)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 4 years ago | (#32636084)

I am an SVU cop posting to Slashdot from work right now. I am currently recording a man raping a woman in a dark alley. This is his fifth victim that we know of. We're not going to move in until he's gotten to 20, or until he stops.

Surveillance Camera have little effect on crime (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32635704)

England has millions of surveillance cameras with little detectable effect on crime. [wikipedia.org]

The cameras make it easier to arrest people, but we already arrest more people than the system can handle. Arresting more, makes no difference.

Whats the incarceration rate? (4, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635756)

The incarceration rate is more important to me than the "crime rate." Are there more people in prison as a result of the high technology, or are less people in prison? Just because we become more efficient at catching criminals it doesn't mean society is safer, it all depends on what we consider to be a crime at the time and how we sentence it. The technology doesn't really help one way or the other unless we have sane laws.

Piont them at the government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32635782)

Just point the damn things at the government officials here in NJ and you will have constant alarms of illegal activity.

The first law of policing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32635838)

Claim that any drop in crime is a result of your great police work.

I take everything said by a police chief with a grain of salt. One of their main tactics is to scare the public and the politicians so they can get more resources. It's what they do.

Some years ago, the author of Freakonomics did a study on the decreased crime rates in American cities. His surprising discovery was that the crime rate started going down seventeen years after Roe vs. Wade. It had nothing to do with what the police were doing (although several chiefs claimed credit.)

When somebody does a rigorous study and says that the video cameras decreased the crime rate; then I'll believe it.

Meh... (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635868)

Real high tech would be identifying crimes before they unfold. :P

So we can arrest thought criminals? (0, Troll)

elucido (870205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635936)

I suppose we should start with the pedophiles right? They have some of the most disgusting thoughts of all.

Crime Forcasting? (2, Insightful)

adosch (1397357) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635944)

Can't wait until the next time I am in New Jersey and do the "did I forget my wallet in my car?" pat-down in public, I will probably be sitting in the county jail overnight on suspicion of mugging.

I'm glad to see someone throwing out an out-of-the-box idea on how to prevent or neutralize crimes before they actually happen, but now instead of dealing with a crime after it's been committed, you get to watch it unfold while it's happening. Perhaps a bit more video evidence to look at on law enforcements side, but what does this do for Joe Americana and their privacy rights? You know this network is going to get used for more than it's initial intention. Unfortunately, bad apples spoil the whole pie sometimes and no one wins.

The term "gunshot detection" (4, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635988)

How do you detect a gun shot cheaply and with triangulation?
Could it be via a cheap device called a microphone? Strange how its now "gunshot detection" like its some optical device.
If they can listen for gun shots, they can listen for voices and create a nice 'part time' state voice print database.
Welcome back to COINTELPRO version 2.0 down every large street.

Re:The term "gunshot detection" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32636226)

Paranoia Paranoia ... yes, it uses microphones and fancy software to identify the caliber and location of the shots.

But honestly, don't worry about people listening to conversations on the street, 99% of people have nothing interesting to say anyways.

Lazy (1)

drumcat (1659893) | more than 4 years ago | (#32636264)

Cameras don't prevent crime; they make it easier to convict. They do not make anyone safer.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...