The security of public places, and the urban security are just as topical as ever, with many faces all around the globe. During Milipol Paris 2023, 141 exhibitors and over 1,903 visitors were involved in this business area.

Security of public places – Urban security at Milipol Paris

  • 141 exhibitors in 2023
  • 1,903 visitors in 2023 (10% of the attendance)
  • 16% of the exhibitors have selected "security of public places - Urban security" as a targeted business sectors for visitors
  • A secteur represented in the Milipol Innovation Awards and during the conference programme, with topics related to video surveillance, flow management, large events security management, crisis management, etc.
  • Many products:
    • Interception and jamming devices
    • Surveillance solutions (cctv, control rooms, drones,...)
    • Technologies for observation, lighting and image capture
    • Perimeter protection
    • etc.

They were there in 2023

  • ATOS
  • AXON
  • CEIA

Article - Urban insecurity: the world's cities try to resist

Urban insecurity, the world's cities try to resist : Urban rodeos are a hot topic in France. Urban guerrilla warfare is rampant in the West Bank. Urban insecurity has many faces, and continues to plague cities around the world. The Middle East and Scandinavia are doing relatively well. South America and Africa are failing miserably.

The situation around the world

The Economist's
latest report looks at the world's safest cities. The study is based on 76 indicators in the areas of digital technology, health, infrastructure, environments and personal safety in cities. Copenhagen (Denmark) comes out on top as the safest city, unseating Tokyo (Japan), which had been in the lead since 2015. The Danish city has the lowest crime rate in the world, far ahead of Toronto and Singapore. New York, considered the safest city in the US, is in 11th place. Paris is ranked 23rd. Yangon (Myanmar) is considered the least safe city in the world, with Karachi (Pakistan), Caracas (Venezuela) and Lagos (Nigeria) not far behind.

Tried-and-tested measures

Cities need to address population growth and urbanisation. By 2025, 2 billion people will be living in cities. By 2050, city-dwellers will account for almost 75% of the world's population, and 2% of the earth's surface will be taken up by towns. Cities thus need to remain appealing to attract citizens, tourism and businesses, while optimising their spending and resources. To reconcile and support this urban growth, security is no longer an option. While some measures are working, there is still a long way to go.

In France, the two measures that seem to be popular with elected representatives are the development of a municipal police force and the use of video protection cameras. Nice has set up four km of security posts and steel cables along the Promenade des Anglais. “Anti-Bataclan" boxes installed in places receiving the public are directly connected to the municipal police urban supervision centre. Geolocatable and equipped with a listening system, this enables operators to direct the city's cameras to the place where an alert is given and send the appropriate police force there. Some 243 emergency call points are also installed in the city centre, and 4,000 cameras cover the city under the watchful eye of the 90 officers who monitor it. Sixty years after introducing a municipal police force, right-wing Nice is France’s leading city in terms of police numbers and video protection.

In Brest, François Cuillandre, mayor and president of Brest Métropole, has decided to deploy video protection cameras and create an “urban tranquillity unit”. The city will build kennels for the Brest squad by April 2023, and the video protection system, with 15 cameras in the city centre and the Pontanezen district, will be operational in early 2023.

In Colomiers, a suburb of Toulouse, the municipal police is also in the spotlight, with the aim of encouraging close relations between citizens and security players. The city has set up an urban environmental squad to deal with everyday minor disturbances. It also has 31 cameras in the public space, 70 in public car parks and an urban supervision centre managed by the municipal services. Meanwhile, Chartres is progressively implementing a video protection network (150 cameras at present) and has set up an urban supervision centre, which boosts the responsiveness of a now enlarged municipal police force. Though the correlation between the drop in burglaries in Chartres cannot be attributed solely to the technological tools deployed in and by the city, but mostly to an overall policy set in motion 20 years ago, they still play a part.

Dubai has also opted for a smart video system to reduce crime, installing no fewer than 200,000 sensors and 15,000 cameras in this area twice the size of Monaco. Dubai is also focusing on confidence in cyberspace for transactions and new real-time monitoring services. The Dubai Cybersecurity Strategy is raising awareness among residents and visitors about public/private sector cooperation, the clarification of cyberspace legislation, including criminal law, and an architecture of trust, with players providing products and services that reflect the ambitions of the Emirates’ strategy.

Towards smarter, more responsible systems

While energy restraint and savings are on the agenda, public lighting, often cited as reassuring and necessary for security in urban areas, is once more under fire. To harmonise the two objectives and find a balance, smart lighting systems are increasingly being used. Here a detection system senses a person’s arrival based on their mass and speed, causing a street lamp to light up, and triggering the following lamps in turn. For cars, which have headlights, lighting is reduced to enable even greater savings. Finally, the use of artificial intelligence is leading to new skills and uses for video protection cameras: algorithms that can detect illegal waste dumping or anomalies like a person fainting on the road, etc. are currently being deployed.

More broadly, coordination and centralisation platforms are now the focus of attention. "The centralisation and smart processing of video surveillance data lead to faster, better targeted interventions, more in-depth knowledge of threats, and a stronger link with the population," says Thales. These innovative solutions for public safety in large cities enable "efficient, reliable video surveillance networks and appropriate decisions for action, thanks to smart video analysis, real-time information sharing with the population and the harmonisation of existing systems and the various agencies and services involved."

Security is thus not limited to surveillance; in the current global context of multiple crises, it also extends to the prevention of risks like natural disasters (floods, storms, etc.). Here again, platforms play a key role. They are a real asset for operators in charge of crisis management on the scale of a city, region or country. "They definitely change the deal (...) because they make it possible to anticipate events more accurately, detect them sooner, give out warnings and take qualified decisions, thus speeding up operations and making them more efficient. So they provide maximum management and protection capabilities for the country or region," says Thales. Nice, for example, has invested in a river flood risk forecasting platform. Issy-les-Moulineaux is using artificial intelligence to develop predictive tools to support decisions regarding urban traffic.

Latin America gets involved

The continent's cities include some of the least safe in the world. Faced with a continuous influx of Latin American citizens – by 2050, 85% of Latin America’s population is expected to live in these urban centres – and the problems that go with it (transport, waste, energy, insecurity, etc.), many of them have embraced the smart, safe city approach over the past 20 years. Bogotá and Montevideo were among the world’s Top 10 smart cities in 2015; crime has fallen by 56% in Mexico City thanks to a partnership with Thales; over 1,800 video surveillance cameras have been installed in Vicente Lopez, a city of 24,000, and Medellín has undergone a spectacular transformation. Long considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world with over 4,500 homicides recorded in 1991, the city has changed so dramatically that it is now cited as a model for its "reconversion". This has involved improving transport to open up dangerous areas (light railways), social urban planning, establishing cultural centres in disadvantaged neighbourhoods by involving the residents, and highlighting the knowledge economy with the creation of Ruta N, an incubator for local and foreign start-ups.

While Latin American safe cities are focusing their efforts (like their counterparts elsewhere in the world) on visual technologies (video protection), their specificity is the large-scale integration of audio, used as a valuable complement and even an alternative to cameras or IoT sensors. For example, Concón, a city in Chile, has set up a network of high-quality network cameras and other sensors with integrated analysis and speakers. These detect emergencies and send warnings to the population in the event of earthquakes and tsunamis, helping the authorities to manage emergency evacuations quickly and efficiently. Similarly, in Mexico City, 10,000 loudspeakers can provide pre-recorded evacuation information during severe earthquakes within 30 seconds of a crisis occurring.

Towards the co-production of global security

Although Latin American cities are successfully appropriating the safe city concept, there is still a long way to go. Urban centres remain fractured by inequalities in terms of gender, age and the socio-spatial relationship, so are still beset by significant insecurity. One solution could be to build better synergy between artificial intelligence and collective intelligence by involving residents more in the management of shared problems, in view of achieving co-produced global security. Especially since, as regards smart cities, Latin American city-dwellers consider greater transparency in the management of common affairs a priority. These expectations and the challenges facing Latin American cities are sources of opportunity. Between now and 2024, Latin America looks set to invest $660 billion in this area. The Observatoire de la Vie Connectée report estimates the connected city global market at $3651.49 billion by 2025.

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