Will Smarter Cities Mean Smarter Law Enforcement?

Night shot of St. Louis projecting badge symbol as a call for help

Every city wants to be a “smart” city. But will smart cities be safer? Will they have less crime, better law enforcement, and an improved quality of life for their residents?

Commercial companies have used the phrase “smart city” to market their products for years. Cities such as Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Barcelona, Spain; and Singapore have been networking sensors and devices to manage their infrastructure for some time. In the United States, Chicago, Illinois, is actively pursuing an initiative it calls the “array of things,” deploying sensors to monitor traffic, air quality, and weather. Columbus, Ohio, won $40 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation in the Smart City Challenge, to be matched with an additional $100 million from other partners. Columbus is integrating vehicles, transit, and sensors into its transportation network, speeding people—especially those with limited incomes—to jobs and health care.

Most of these smart city initiatives revolve around transportation, energy, and waste management. How will smart cities improve public safety and reduce crime?