Like several of life’s immutable realities, crime is one thing that will always be present no matter how much humanity progresses. Even though we have reduced global hunger, poverty, and a lack of education, crime in one form or another will always be present. This is simply due to the nature of the human mind since the diversity of personality types shaped by their childhood and life experiences end up living different lifestyles – some of which, unfortunately, include crime.
One of the worst forms of crime is murder. It is among the handful of offenses that have the death penalty in more than fifty countries that regularly execute people for both murder and other serious crimes such as rape. Since murder is literally one of the deadliest crimes, it’s unsurprising that it also has an impact on the regions where these crimes take place. One of the largest impacts of murder or homicides is on the property values of the neighborhoods where people are deliberately killed.
At least that’s what a report from the Office of the Controller – The City of Philadelphia states. It takes a look at the 4,121 homicides in the city between 2006 and 2018 and the 220,000 property sales that took place during the same time period. Focusing only on the property values of areas located close to the murders, the report concludes that one less murder carries the potential to increase the neighborhood’s property values by 2.3%.
Taking a broader look, the research also outlines that in a year, if homicides are reduced by ten percent, annual property tax values grow by $13 million; and if homicides are reduced by ten percent each year for five years, overall property tax revenues can grow by $114 million with the bulk of benefits taking place in year five in the form of $43 million additional property taxes collected.
Shifting our focus from the impact of homicide reduction to the impact of technology in helping police solve crimes reveals that several new technologies are in play these days that Sherlock Holmes might consider to be a blessing. One such technology is the FARO laser scanner. This scanner enables prosecutors and police officers to create a three dimensional and life like representation of a crime scene to investigate crimes and share details with juries in the best manner possible. As of 2016, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Justice Department had spent $1 million on these sensors while the Pentagon, with its deep, deep pockets, had forked out $18 million. The scanner was also crucial in helping police in the investigation of the deadly San Bernardino terrorist attack of 2015 to let them determine the nature of wounds to the perpetrators and the victims.
Another cool technology, and one that can help prevent murders instead of helping solve them after the damage is done is ShotSpotter. This is a gunshot detection system that uses sensors to take stock of loud sounds and an algorithm to determine if the noise is of gun firing.