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Civil Unrest and Robots

Since 2000 the United States has seen approximately 48 recorded incidents of civil unrest, riots or civil disobedience. Many of us can recall quite a few of these events, and even more law enforcement officers and security managers recall the steps they took to safeguard citizens and businesses during the upheaval. Many of these incidents were relatively peaceful, but many more resulted in property damage, injuries and, sadly, loss of life.

Having spent years training and operating in these types of situations, the force needed to quickly gain control can, at times, have a negative impact on the goal at hand – safety. We have all seen the news coverage focusing on law enforcement officers in riot gear and SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) teams using flash grenades, pepper balls and bean bag projectiles. More often than not, what they fail to show is the de-escalation techniques employed prior to the more dramatic footage that focuses on diffusing a hostile situation, reducing negative perception from the general public, all while providing effective safety and surveillance measures.

Law enforcement and security teams have learned to leverage technology to get ahead of these incidents while also implementing new tools into their risk management framework. An organization’s leadership will often turn to their security teams for input, or industry insight, into the latest steps for handling these types of incidents. Major concerns revolve around employee and visitor safety, the ability to maintain operations by shipping and receiving goods, continuity of e-commerce and intelligence on the actors perpetuating the event or calling for an escalation of activities surrounding the topic at hand.

During incidents of protests or civil unrest, identifying weak points within the security footprint is key. We often cannot, as the event dictates, install new technologies. We are left with having to increase personnel which can be a challenge. Local law enforcement can be strapped, and mutual aid requests will be focused on maintaining order or protecting critical infrastructure. Business safety and continuity of operations will fall squarely on the business. So, what do we do?

Many of the statistics provided by Knightscope clients show that there is a drastic reduction in criminal activity, loitering, harassment, etc., when autonomous security robots are introduced into their security programs. The utilization of robotics allows security teams to direct their robots to patrol in locations that they may not be able to quickly deploy human personnel.

Robots are an added member of the team that can be put on the front lines to gather much needed data, audio and video intelligence. Being able to rapidly diagnose information, provide real time event updates and review quickly changing variables gives security and law enforcement the upper hand in responding to these types of events and allows them to change tactics as the situation dictates.

Effective utilization of security robots also provides users with the ability to broadcast commands or messages through one or multiple robots at a time. During these types of events you will want to convey a message to those in attendance.

Having these messages delivered by someone in uniform could, potentially, exacerbate the situation. The presence of a robotic messenger allows users the ability to convey their message in a far less threatening manner and gauge the response in real time. Having this function could shift the tide in favor of peace as you will now be able to capitalize on the responses of those on the line or shift resources and personnel as you analyze the audible feedback of those outside.

There are a myriad number of uses for autonomous robots within security and public safety. Sometimes stepping outside of the box opens your capabilities and allows you to set a new standard in operations and response. Break away from the standard of, “…but this is how we have always done it,” and take advantage of the technological evolution we see ourselves in now.

While we hope that such events don’t happen to you, it’s comforting to know that Knightscope security robots are up to the challenge and committed to providing you with the technology to handle it and provide the public with a safe alternative when circumstances call for it.

 

 

 

 

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