The NYPD is always looking for new tools to keep the streets safe
Commissioner Ray Kelly seeks high-tech ways to keep crime falling
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
January 22 2012, 4:05 AM
Body scanner could help the NYPD get guns off the streets.
Technology is marching forward, often being harnessed by criminals who want to take advantage of others.
Thank goodness the NYPD is keeping pace and then some — with a fleet of innovative crime-fighting and investigation techniques. Brains have met brawn, and they’re both wearing blue.
Case in point: For 18 months, NYPD investigators stalked members of two violent Brooklyn gangs through cyberspace, from Twitter to Facebook to YouTube and beyond.
It was the Internet-era equivalent of shoe-leather sleuthing, and it worked brilliantly.
The online probe helped link 42 punks to six murders, 32 shootings, 36 robberies and assorted other felonies including 33 illegal gun possessions.
Finding and tracking digital fingerprints is just the beginning.
In a speech last week, Commissioner Ray Kelly outlined other promising techniques in development, including a portable body scanner that could spot concealed weapons.
He hopes the device can be improved to accurately detect weapons concealed in pockets and under clothing from 75 feet away.
Brought to bear on drug locations and other places lawbreakers congregate, this could mean huge improvements in public safety. It could also decrease the need for the much-criticized but currently indispensable stop, ask and maybe frisk program.
Surely there will be bleats that cops shouldn’t be looking at people’s Tweets or seeking out concealed weapons using advanced methods.
But the public wants and deserves safer streets, and that means aggressively testing and employing new methods — consistent with the Constitution, of course — to get them.
New York City’s 34% drop in crime since 2001, despite a loss of 6,000 officers during that period, didn’t happen by accident. It was driven in large part by innovative thinking: CompStat, enabling cops to see and respond to increases in violence in real time. Nor did the NYPD bumble into its dazzling counterterrorism successes; it worked hard to develop smart techniques to meet the threat.
Kelly said last year’s crime drop proves “the era of public safety continues.”
True, and it looks as though it will stretch into the foreseeable future, if he and the NYPD have anything to say about it.
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