Science and Technology News

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Public Safety Technology in the News

Public Safety Technology in the News

Internet Crime Complaints Top 300,000 for Third Year
Government Security News, (05/11/2012), Mark Rockwell
The number of complaints the FBI received about Internet crime rose 3.4 percent in 2011 to 314,246, with a dollar loss of $485.3 million, according to a report from the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). It is the third year in a row that reported Internet crime complaints topped 300,000. IC3 received more than 26,000 complaints per month in 2011. IC3 is a partnership between the FBI, the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) and the Bureau of Justice Assistance. IC3 is a clearinghouse of Internet crime information for federal, state, tribal, local and international agencies. In 2011, the top five states with the most complaints were California, Florida, Texas, New York and Ohio.
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Drones Up to 25 Pounds Allowed for U.S. Safety Agencies
Bloomberg News, (05/14/2012)
Changes in U.S. regulations will allow public safety agencies to operate unmanned aircraft with fewer restrictions. Agencies will be able to fly drones weighing up to 25 pounds without applying for special approvals required under previous regulations. The regulation revision was announced by the Federal Aviation Administration on its website. The revision is an interim measure until the FAA completes rules to allow small drones for commercial purposes. The changes come at the direction of Congress. Agencies must show they can operate drones before getting a permit. The FAA said drones must fly within 400 feet of the ground, remain in sight of the operator and stay clear of airports.
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Sheriff’s New Online Crime Mapping Keeps Residents Informed
The Herald-Sun, (05/14/2012), Keith Upchurch
The Durham County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina is using RAIDS Online to provide crime maps and analysis to residents. The software maps and analyzes crime data and alerts Durham citizens about crimes, and allows the sheriff’s office to inform residents quickly about offenses. The Internet-based program will incorporate sheriff’s records every 24 hours to update crime data. Users of the website at can arrange crime data based on location, type of crime and date range. Citizens can also sign up to receive neighborhood watch reports, and can submit anonymous crime tips to the sheriff’s office. BAIR Analytics offers RAIDS Online free to any law enforcement agency. Durham and Raleigh Police Departments also use the program.
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Antioch Police Adopt Online Sex Offender Search System
Daily Herald, (05/16/2010), Taylor Goldenstein
Residents of Antioch, Ill., can map sex offender and predator information through an online service called OffenderWatch. Information is automatically updated using data from the Antioch Police Department. The service, which is used by more than 5,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide, allows citizens to look up an address and view a map and listing of offenders within a two-mile radius. The system can also be useful for police. It can be used to monitor violations of sex offender safety buffers near schools, day care centers and parks, and can help police plan compliance checks on offenders.
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NTIA Seeks Comments on National Public Safety Network
National Journal, (05/14/2012), Adam Mazmanian
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is soliciting comments on the planned national, interoperable wireless broadband network for public safety that will be known as FirstNet. The agency is seeking information on existing infrastructure that might be used on behalf of the effort, including cellular towers and backhaul networks. Legislation authorizing FirstNet requires the use of existing commercial communications infrastructure in developing the network. The request for information is the first step toward distribution of $135 million in grants to state, local and tribal governments to cover planning of the network. NTIA head Lawrence Strickland also stressed the need for the network to work on a break-even basis. Participating agencies will pay user fees to FirstNet.
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Greenwich Police Roll Out New Smartphone App
The Daily Greenwich, (05/16/2012), Anna Helhoski
Citizens of Greenwich, Ct., can now use smartphones to interact with the local police department. The new department app is not intended for emergency situations. But it allows residents to submit crime tips, including photos and GPS location tags, and provide police with comments on performance. Capt. Mark Kordick said the department has had a website link for years, but the app is generating more use by citizens than the website. Using the app, citizens can access the department’s website, participate in surveys and get directions to police headquarters.
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Midtown Crime Decreases Significantly in Past Three Years
The South End, (05/17/2012), Debanina Seaton
A program under which police and other agencies share information has paid off in Detroit by reducing crime substantially in some areas. The Midtown COMSTAT project was started in 2009 by the Wayne State University Police Department and the university’s Department of Urban Studies. The program is patterned on the New York model under which police and other agencies concentrate efforts to stop crime in specific areas. According to WSUPD Chief Anthony Holt, since the program started, serious crime is down 38 percent, robberies on the main campus have dropped 70 percent and larceny is down 40 percent. Crime mapping is also credited with the drop in crime. WSUPD and other police departments and security agencies meet every two weeks to share information and discuss different hotspots in Midtown and other areas. Participating are the Detroit Police Department, AmeriCorps, library security, the Henry Ford Health System security team, the Detroit Medical Center and the Michigan Department of Corrections.
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Calif. Police Among Nation’s Most Followed on Twitter, (05/17/2012)
Police departments in Florida and California of a certain size have the most Twitter followers, according to a survey by the International Association of Chiefs of Police Center for Social Media. In the category of law enforcement agencies with 50 to 99 sworn officers, the Naples (Fla.) Police Department ranked first with 3,845 Twitter followers, followed by Mountain View, Calif. police, with 3,485 Twitter followers. Mountain View police Chief Scott Vermeer said his agency uses Twitter to push information out to the public on critical incidents, traffic problems and crime prevention tips. Other police agencies sometimes use Twitter as a tool to have a two-way conversation with citizens.
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