How body worn cameras will lead to smarter, safer cities

Announcing our first body worn camera solution, we have an eye not only on the immediate benefits body worn cameras can bring to law enforcement and private security companies, but other areas of life where the presence of a body worn camera can have a positive impact.

The urban environment is an obvious place where body worn cameras will have a significant and increasing presence, and once which will help cities reach goals in security and safety. Indeed, as a greater proportion of the world’s population increasingly lives in cities, safety and security are high on the agenda of citizens in relation to the perception of a city’s livability and attractiveness.

Capturing evidence and affecting behaviour

Reducing crime in all its forms – from the relatively minor, such as vandalism and antisocial behavior, to the more serious like theft and physical violence – is obviously a central objective for any city government or authority. Video surveillance in general plays a key role in both deterring crime and helping with investigations, and the increasing use of body worn cameras by law enforcement agencies enhances this further.

Capturing evidence for post-incident investigation is a principal benefit, and not only evidence against the alleged criminal, but also evidence that the law enforcement officer or private security professional had behaved appropriately and within official guidelines and processes. This comes not only through footage mirroring that as seen through the wearer’s own eyes, but in ‘filling in’ blind spots not covered by traditional surveillance cameras.

The presence of a body worn camera can improve behaviour of both citizens and the wearer of the camera, which can not only reduce the number of incidents, but also the number of complaints against officers. Both are positive factors in the sense of city livability.

In addition, footage from body worn cameras can be extremely useful in situational training and evaluation. Using real-world footage of the management of incidents – including both seeing and hearing how law enforcement or security personnel managed a particular situation – greatly enhances the brings to life the theoretical taught in the classroom.

As a ‘softer’ psychological benefit, body worn cameras can increase the feeling of safety and security for the wearer, allowing them to undertake their job with confidence, and this is where the potential for additional body worn camera use cases becomes clearer.

Body worn beyond law enforcement and security

Unfortunately, a fact of urban life can be verbal and physical abuse of workers perceived to be in positioning of authority, or a focal point of citizen frustration. Public transport operatives and ticket inspectors, emergency services personnel, healthcare professionals, teachers, utility workers and many others can become targets for aggression and abuse, and while it’s often borne out of citizen frustration and stress, it is clearly entirely inappropriate.

The mere presence of a body worn camera and the knowledge that a citizen is being filmed can have a calming effect, reducing the likelihood of an incident escalating to abuse and violence and overall levels of antisocial behavior. The increased feeling of safety and security for the wearer should also not be underestimated, and their increased confidence in doing their job can lead to more positive interactions with the public. And again, the footage from body worn cameras can be an invaluable enhancement to training courses for employees across multiple city functions and roles.

We’re early into our journey into the body worn camera segment, but the potential for improving the lives of citizens and workers in our urban environments is clear and exciting.

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