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The value of smarter public safety and security

Reducing threats, increasing efficiency, delivering prosperity

New threats to public safety require new responses

Police, emergency services and disaster response agencies need to adapt to a new operating environment: the public expects quick and effective responses to an evolving range of threats, yet funds are increasingly difficult to secure; where more and more information is at agencies’ disposal, yet up to 80 percent of it is unstructured and the vast majority is little more than noise.

10% Reducing crime 18% Improving efficiency and effectiveness

10% Reducing crime 18% Improving efficiency and effectiveness

The nature of crime is evolving and resources are tight.

What is needed is a new, smarter approach, where masses of data can be transformed into insight, improved inter-agency collaboration, decision making and resource allocation—to deliver both greater efficiency and improved results.

The path to a safer community

The IBM Center for Applied Insights and global public safety teams carried out primary and secondary research to shed light on this new approach. The research had two objectives. First, to identify the distinct competencies that leading agencies across all public safety and security domains are developing; and second, to quantify the potential benefits.


The results identified five key competencies that agencies are developing as they move toward smarter public safety and security:

  • Access to relevant data
  • Integrated, trusted information
  • Responder operational insight
  • Proactive planning and decision making
  • Unified threat assessment and response

These findings are consolidated in a new executive report, “The Value of Smarter Public Safety and Security,”(PDF,1.9MB) which explains how these competencies can deliver tangible benefits to public safety and security agencies, by both reducing agency operating costs and through creating safer, thriving communities.

While every agency's journey to smarter public safety and security will be unique, the goal is clear: increased operating efficiency as well as fewer and less severe incidents. In fact, modeling the approach with a representative U.S. city police department, IBM's research suggests that agencies could see an annual savings of 17 to 21 percent of their operating costs. The economic benefits are even larger if the accounting includes the impact of avoiding criminal justice and victims' costs and the wider benefits of improved public safety and security to society. And that’s a proposition that the public, politicians and budget holders would find hard to ignore.

1 “Munich Re: Record disaster losses in 2011” Associated Press, via Bloomberg Businessweek

2 Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global CCTV Market Analysis (2008-2012)" report to their offering. (As reported in Business Wire, Feb. 2011.)