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Can you stop someone from planting a powerful charge at a crowded baseball stadium? Yes, but how? Application is more complex organization-wise, and sometimes legally too – than technologically
Numerous law enforcement bodies worldwide are fully equipped with cutting edge technology, or are at least aware of it and are familiar with it. Nevertheless, only few of them feature any Convergence of various technology outputs in order to have actionable data for police officers in the field, for examiners in crime scenes, for intelligence gathering officers and for organization chiefs – the decision makers.
What then, are the tools required to neutralize a terrorist who is a local resident just returning from a round of fighting in Syria or Iraq, equipped and determined to plant a powerful charge at a baseball stadium right in the middle of a Sunday game, only to kill and mutilate, to perpetrate the next mega terrorist attack?
The answer lies in the small details that usually make up the complete picture when assembled together. Let us go over some of the many and varied means at the disposal of law enforcement bodies:
- Video: a major, ongoing torrent of secure and encrypted HD-quality videos, streamed over dedicated cellular networks all the way to police HQs from various forces, live:
– Unmanned Aerial System over the stadium beginning several hours prior to the game, taking videos of the traffic and the crowds coming in to the stadium from the parking lots, from mass transit stops, making their way towards the gates and the entrances
– Wearable video cameras on the lapels of the hundreds of positioned police officers’ vests
– Dozens of visible and concealed video cameras along the course of the crowds
– LPR cameras installed in police cars and at the stadium’s check points to monitor and take pics of all license plates of parked as well as nearby cars
- Cellular: law enforcement bodies’ databases constantly receive data from all cellular providers covering the area
– The number of people in each cellular cell (gates, parking, entrance, etc.)
– Suspicious objects and their exact location(s)
- Data from credit card companies, from ticket-selling websites and entrances
- Border police data
- Social media data
- HUMINT (Human Intelligence): gathering operatives, penal facilities, investigation reports, surveillance, wiretaps and bugging
In a scenario of Convergence of all (or at least most) technological systems, all this data is “pooled” and processed, each segment per its own unique and dedicated means.
For instance, the torrent of the many and varied videos streamed, is processed by mass movement detection systems capable of tracing extraordinary events that stand out in the patterns, capture them and flag them for next stage investigation and verification through the converged systems.
Cellular providers’ data systems can produce information that can be used to deduce correlations and interactions between suspects, their position and their movements, including meet-ups and dispersal. Border police data comprise, inter alia, of passengers’ names on flight manifests from flagged countries. Data from social media can be used to corroborate malevolent intents or rule them out, along with information on suspects gaining expertise or means. The same goes for investigation reports, data from detention facilities, intelligence data on people and their intentions and so on and so forth.
Since the difficult feat to accomplish is finding the proverbial “needle in a haystack”, only Convergence of the various systems and integrating the data received into a single converged processing array can assist police and law enforcement bodies in preventing the next catastrophe – in this age of staggering quantities of data – in foiling the next “mega terrorist attack” so many governments are concerned about and so many terrorist organizations are planning.