The main objective of the City.Risks project is to increase the perception of security of citizens in cities by activating in a more transparent and sustainable way their participation in communities, through which information and interventions can be provided both to proactively protect citizens from falling victims to criminal activities as well as to reactively provide more timely and effective response and assistance. In order to do so, the City.Risks project will leverage a set of innovative technologies, city infrastructures, and available data sources, but more importantly will aim at making the citizens’ smart phones the modern tool for increasing their personal and collective sense of security. The project will design and develop an innovative ecosystem of mobile services that will transform citizens’ smartphones or tablets into tools that will collect, visualise and share safety-critical information with the appropriate authorities and communities. The project will rely on a wide spectrum of available technologies to design and implement an interactive framework among authorities and citizens through mobile applications that will allow in a collaboratively way to prevent or mitigate the impact of crime incidents or other security threats. Thus, it will contribute to an increase of the citizens’ perception of security, which will be measured and validated in real-life scenarios and conditions through the deployment and operation of pilot trials at several selected cities by the project partners. Moreover, to further found its sustainability, the project will devise business models and replication plans of its results that will contribute in the next generation innovative security solutions for the future smart cities.
The main objectives of City.Risks are:
Objective 1: To provide a more in-depth and fine-grained analysis and understanding of the factors of fear of crime in urban environments, investigating and correlating both dimensions of objective aspects, related to the actual surroundings and crime incidents, and subjective aspects, related to societal and psychological factors covering the citizens’ perspective.
Objective 2: To foster and facilitate the engagement of citizens in better addressing security challenges, by encouraging and enabling their bidirectional interaction with the relevant authorities as well as among themselves in trusted networks and broader communities.
Objective 3: To provide a platform and technologies for collecting, integrating, managing and visualizing contextualized, crime-related information -both historical and real-time- and using it for more effective and timely prevention and response to security threats.
Objective 4: To design and develop an ecosystem of mobile services that will transform the citizens smart phones and tablets into primary tools for sharing safety-critical information with the appropriate authorities and among them.
Objective 5: To design and build new lightweight and user friendly small sensor devices for enabling the detection of specific cases of criminality, such as identifying and locating stolen object utilizing the citizens as sensors.
Objective 6: To validate and evaluate the developed solutions and technologies in real-life scenarios and settings, via extensive pilot trials that will be setup and operated at several selected cities.
Objective 7: To produce flexible and sustainable business models, best practices and replication plans for further deployment and exploitation of City.Risks results in other urban environments, maximizing the project impact and opening up new market opportunities for urban security technologies.
City.Risks is developing an innovative theft detection sensor
City Risks project intends to design and implement an innovative, small and discrete sensor coupling Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and radio-based technologies to transparently identify and locate stolen objects within a specific urban range through the usage of the City.Risks network of citizens. The key challenge of the design is how the distance between a Base Station and BLE device can be covered. Therefore, instead of implementing a WuR (wake-up radio receiver) along with a BLE device positioned in the asset, a BLE/WiFi gateway should be deployed that would equally cover and reach the BLE anti-theft sensor. Two alternative activation mechanisms have been foreseen: via BLE/WiFi gateway, and via the smartphones of the community users, which forward the wake up signal to the BLE device.
The core components of the system architecture are the following: battery powered BLE sensor device, BLE/ WiFi Radio gateway to enable communication with the City.Risks Platform and City Risks Mobile application to communicate with BLE devices and report asset’s position to the City.Risks platform.
Test of pilot scenarios in Rome and Sofia
The City.Risks consortium has organised two test sessions (short pilot) in Rome and Sofia to check the functionalities of the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) vi in real environments.
The pilot in Rome took place on December 16th, 2107, in the area of the Circo Massimo and in the Aventino residential area. A small group of citizens was involved in the test, together with representatives of the Municipal Police and some members of the Consortium. The Operation Centre was established at the Municipal Police headquarters and available functionalities were managed by ICCS representative. Three different groups were appointed on the field: the robbed, the robbers and the policemen, while the members of the consortium were acting as City.Risks activists. voThe first group was equipped with some BLE sensors, previously registered on their smartphones and started wandering around in the area. After a while, they were approached by the “robbers”, who grabbed the BLE tag and moved fastly away. The theft was reported to the Operation centre, who activated the stolen tag so that they could be tracked by the activists’ smartphones. The information was then available to the Operation centre’s monitors and eventually the policemen were alerted via their walkie talkie scanner and could “arrest” the robbers and retrieve the stolen tags. A similar scenario was replicated in the Aventino residential area, to simulate the effect of blocking buildings on the BLE signal: once again the robbers were arrested and stolen tags retrieved.
The pilot in Sofia took place on February 22nd, 2018 and was organised inside the shopping centre The Mall. Again some citizens were involved and acted not only as robbers and robbed, but also as activists. Three gateways were placed in different locations inside the mall, to detect the robbers carrying the stolen tags. The pilot gave the opportunity to test the “stolen item” scenario indoor, but also to put in place the “look for a witness” scenario and the “report event information” scenario, based on the use of the City.Risks app. The information and feedback collected in the two pilot events will be used by the consortium to improve technical functionalities in view of the conclusion of the project.