A test drive for artificial intelligence in Camden’s police department

David Madden
February 24, 2020 - 4:00 am

CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Police in Camden are trying out a futuristic approach to fighting crime through the use of artificial intelligence.

This is not about robots on the street. You’d see that in a movie.

The department is test-driving computer software that will aid analysts in deciding where to deploy officers. 

“Our goal is to prevent crime from ever occurring,” Chief Joseph Wysocki told KYW Newsradio. “The way I look at it, artificial intelligence, if it’s going to work, it’s another wrench that’s in our tool box that we can deploy.”

ShotSpotter, the same company they use to pinpoint gunfire in the city with sensors, supplies this technology using gathered data including everything from weather forecasts to past crime patterns.

The idea has its critics, but Wysocki said he’s keeping an open mind.

“We have 90 days to evaluate it,” he added. “Towards the end of the 90 day period, I’ll be able to communicate with ShotSpotter where we’re at, whether we extend it or if we’re ready to purchase it or if we decide that we’re not going to use it.”

But one thing’s certain. No one’s losing their job to this. Besides, it’s community policing more than any equipment that’s brought Camden’s crime rate down.