Technology and Crime-Fighting

By Anthony Chuka Konwea, PhD, PE

Be informed. Ever wondered why American police forces arrive very quickly (under 4 minutes in most cases) at criminal shooting scenes? I used to think it was mostly due to good samaritans calling 911. That may still be true in rural areas. No longer so in urban centers.

Years ago, I took a course on Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in my former school as a personal elective. Luckily the instructor was a software developer with ArcGIS. In the course of the semester long lectures, he let out that ArcGIS consults with various Police Departments to map and analyze output from secret listening and surveillance posts littered across many cities.

Once a gun is fired anywhere, say in DC for example, some of the thousands of secret microphones within range, (they are secretly planted all over the city such that most policemen don't even know their exact locations), pick up the gunshot noise. By some complex GIS triangulation, their software calculates and pinpoints the precise location where the gun was fired. Before you can say Jack, police patrol cars wired to the GIS system arrive at the location. The rest is often history.

You cannot beat technology. This is why some nations' police forces are effective, and others ineffectual. There is more to what we see than meets the eye. Like an iceberg, we see the top 10%. The rest 90% is submerged, unseen. But it is there. Knowledge is power and wealth. Ignorance is poverty.

Let us learn something new each day to grow individually and as a nation. Now you know.

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