Logan’s neighbourhood watch may soon be revolutionalised by a new “game-changing” AI program that is said to massively reduce car theft and “empower” residents.
And according to the program’s creator, it can do what law enforcement cannot.
The program, set up by an organisation called Community Watch, integrates privately-owned surveillance cameras with a unique vehicle-tracking system to help police locate perpetrators of crime.
For example, local residents can submit footage of a crime occurring, or of a vehicle involved in a crime, and Community Watch’s AI system “instantaneously” combs through its network of surveillance cameras to find the car.
This information is then immediately forwarded to police.
The program records the who, what, where and when of a situation, and compares it to the same historical data dating back five years.
It has already been trialled in Springwood, with 300 business participating in the program and reporting a 95 per cent drop in crime in six months.
Founder Garry Wilson said the technology had been used by police to help solve murders and could be used for a variety of crimes.
He said Community Watch monitored one million vehicles daily across south-east Queensland.
“We need to empower the public and let them know what’s going on,” he said.
“The purpose of this was to create a safer community – 99 per cent of the public are law-abiding citizens, but we need more proactive community policing.”
Local police described the technology as a “game-changer in the realm of crime prevention”, and said it was “immensely valuable” – enabling police to capture accurate results and a higher level of intelligence.
Beyond its ability to solve crime, Community Watch also aimed to deter it.
Mr Wilson said publicly outing perpetrators, as is frequently done on Facebook community pages, would prevent crime from occurring.
He has incorporated this concept into the program.
“Digital billboards around the area light up with community alerts of stolen vehicles’ registrations, or the faces of serial offenders, or urgent community messages,” he said.
“If you have footage of a crime, give it to us and we’ll make the criminal famous.”
And there’s no catch – the service is completely free to the taxpayer and community.
But Mr Wilson said he was aware of potential Big Brother connotations.
“It only comes to life after vehicle owners have reported a theft to police,” he said.
“No one ever sees your data until you say that your car has been lost or stolen, and that information goes straight to the police.”
Local councillor Jon Raven said the program had the potential to create a safer community.
“The potential for public awareness campaigns, safety alerts and the integration with social media are just some of the features that I believe the community would welcome,” Cr Raven said.
“Being able to share this information with police to assist their investigation and enforcement activities especially for repeat offenders is incredibly valuable.”
Mr Wilson said he hoped to expand Community Watch across Logan and beyond.