Guest Editorial by John Chigos, CEO of PlateSmart Technologies
Original post can be found in American Security Today.
The recent bombings in New York and New Jersey should serve as a wake-up call to all of us, but I fear that they won’t, and not without good reason.
So inundated are we day after day with news coverage of terrorist activity that we risk becoming numb to the ever-present danger we face. We must not allow this to happen.
Members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation carry on investigations at the scene of Saturday’s explosion on West 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, New York, Saturday, September 17, 2016 (Image credit: Andres Kudacki, AP Photo)
Although we have been comparatively fortunate since 9/11, we still have the specters of Boston, San Bernardino, Orlando, and now New York and New Jersey hanging over us.
The bottom line? We are not safe.
I hate to put it in terms as stark as that, but the fact is that the danger to the U.S. homeland from terrorists, particularly ISIS, is probably more pronounced now than it ever has been.
ISIS may have lost territory in its strongholds in Iraq and Syria, but it has had great success with its online recruitment efforts for so-called “lone-wolf” attackers all over the world. This is in addition to the organized cells already active on our own soil and on that of our allies.
The total effect of both of these endeavors has resulted in a situation wherein the FBI has over 1,000 active investigations of ISIS-related terror plots ongoing within the United States.
These most recent attacks in the northeast, as well as the others I mentioned above, are only symptoms of this much deeper problem. And as the saying goes, we have to be successful 100% of the time, whereas they only have to be successful once.
The mangled box said to have held the explosive device in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, Saturday, September 17, 2016 (Image credit- AFP)
It is well-known that the past year has seen many thefts of nuclear material in various parts of the world, some of which remains unrecovered. How long will it be before another attack like these occurs, this time utilizing a radiological weapon?
Combatting this threat requires constant diligence, but that by itself is not enough.
The military, law enforcement, and homeland security personnel tasked with our defense have an overwhelming, nearly impossible job. The enemy they face does not wear uniforms and does not announce its presence until it is too late. It is also extremely skilled in the use of technology.
In turn, we must give our protectors all of the technological tools they need to find and stop these people before they can act.
Of all the tools available, one of the most powerful is Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) and video analytics based on it.
This is because most people drive, and as a result, most crime and terrorism in this country involve at least one motor vehicle.
Not only can this technology help identify and track those already wanted on suspicion of terrorist acts, but it can also detect vehicle movement patterns, potentially revealing suspicious activity by operatives with no prior histories. That fact alone makes ALPR-based video analytics indispensable in the fight against terror.
(Learn why ALPR and ALPR-based video analytics are needed now more than ever…and why PlateSmart’s ALPR solutions are the best choice for your needs! Courtesy of PlateSmart and YouTube)
It is one of my deepest and most abiding fears that we will eventually suffer another terrorist attack on U.S. soil that dwarfs 9/11 in terms of deaths and of damage to the American way of life.
I firmly believe that as things stand, it is not a question of if, but of when.
I started my company, PlateSmart, because I believed—and still do—that ALPR-based video analytics is one of the best weapons against terror ever conceived. I do not claim that our technology, or any other for that matter, is infallible or is a guarantee against future attacks.
I do know, however, what it is capable of, and what it can do to increase our safety if we deploy it in as many places as possible.
I also know that we are foolish if we do not use every available tool at our disposal in the protection of our country and our loved ones.
I want to do everything I can to accomplish that goal. I hope that everyone reading this feels the same and will join me in supporting the use of ALPR-based video analytics and other advanced surveillance technologies in our defense.
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