Legal Technology

Anti-terrorism funding helps NYC police gear up for day-to-day crime detection

Being considered one of the top terrorism targets in the U.S. has helped make New York City a lot safer as far as ordinary crime is concerned, the city’s police commissioner says.

With the help of funds targeted to combat terrorism, the Big Apple has geared up its law enforcement technology and regularly relies on a linked network of security cameras, license-plate scanning, facial imaging technology, a massive city police mug shot database, cellphone location pings and gunshot-finding equipment that makes it relatively easy to solve crimes that perhaps could not have been cleared a decade or more ago, the New York Daily News reports.

Additional technology being added to New York police arsenal includes a system of sensors to report gunshots, which can then be synched with security camera footage to help locate those responsible, and tablet computers carried by patrolmen and women that let them check out criminal histories related to specific addresses as they arrive and enforce any outstanding warrants.

“So much of what has been acquired for terrorism purposes day to day, informs our crimes—with license plate scanners, the pinging capabilities we have on the phones,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton tells the newspaper. “And that’s one of the great benefits New York gets out of being the most likely terrorist target in the world today is that the funds that come in help us on our more prevalent, consistent issue of day-to-day crime.”

Crime-mapping also helps police spot trends and deploy resources effectively, and officers’ computerized detective work is aided by social media posts in which suspects not infrequently brag about their crimes. Two pairs of Google glasses owned by the department have not yet been put into use.

In one recent case, officers matched gun cartridges from several crime scenes to one firearm. Surveillance footage showed the same vehicle at the crime scenes, and the owner quickly became a suspect, Bratton said.

Related articles:

ABA Journal: “How did America’s police become a military force on the streets?” “Police use of SWAT tactics has gotten out of hand, says author (podcast)”

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.