“Technology has the potential to save over 10 lives and more than 50 sexual assaults per day.”
PREDICTABILITY fuelled by artificial intelligence (AI) and big data has the ability to reduce violent crimes in South Africa by 25 percent by 2023, an industry expert said on Tuesday.
As the country’s crime statistics continue to rise, technology has a vital role to play in establishing a predictability, data-driven approach to improving security measures, said Warren Myers, chief executive and co-founder of technology company Aura.
“South Africa’s crime rate is well documented, and it seems set to continue to spiral out of control in the current economic climate,” he said in a statement.
“Hyper scale technology tools like AI, machine learning, blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) are creating a playing field where we can begin dreaming of fixing the biggest problems like crime, not only in South Africa, but across the planet.”
The murder rate in South Africa increased by 1.4 percent or 303 cases, while sexual violence rose 1.7 percent over the past year, Police Minister Bheki Cele said last month as he released the country’s latest crime statistics.
Cele said 21 325 murders were recorded between April last year and the end of this March, including 73 police officers, 38 of whom were killed while off duty.
On Tuesday, Myers said Aura had been launched to create a data on-demand service, using statistical data to guide decision-making and assist private security companies to become more accessible and effective.
“Our technology has the potential to save over 10 lives and more than 50 sexual assaults per day. We also boast an average of five minutes response times nationally,” he said.
Aura gathers and centralises national data from more than 200 private security companies, before applying AI. The company also includes mass threat detection devices such as open access closed-circuit television (CCTV).
“The public should have access to a centralised panic system, either via an app or wearable technology, which will enable everyone to immediately report crimes. We also work closely with private security to ensure we have fast, effective armed reaction to effect arrests,” Myers said.
Currently, there are 7 000 private response vehicles across South Africa which only service two percent of the population. In addition, these vehicles are only in service five percent of the time, leaving 95 percent idle.
“The demand-supply theory is clearly not in play as there are tens of millions of South Africans who desperately want affordable and accessible private security services,” Myers said.
“By using technology, we can create the greatest crime-fighting weapon in history: predictably. This will take us beyond mere reactionary armed response, giving us a fighting chance against crime.
“It is about being a step ahead all the time. The system is versatile, adaptive and will grow and evolve just as criminals do. Pivoting is what helps most remain elusive to security forces. As methods are identified, criminals adjust and create new or varying tactics to successfully carry out their crimes. By being a step ahead, pivoting will become much harder to achieve.”
– African News Agency (ANA)