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How AI-Video Analytics Helps Mitigate
Active Shooter Threats

How AI-Video Analytics Helps Mitigate Active Shooter Threats

The proliferation of active shooter incidents has become a grim reality across the globe. Schools, workplaces, public spaces – no setting seems immune to the threat. According to the latest FBI report, the threat of active shooting has grown exponentially, both in the number of gun violence incidents and the number of casualties compared to previous years.

In an increasingly uncertain world, various factors can push individuals to commit deadly attacks, including ideological motivation that drives extremists to carry out acts of violence in pursuit of their beliefs or untreated mental health issues leading individuals to resort to violence as a response to their internal struggles. To a large extent, this global trend can be attributed to social and economic stressors. Unemployment, social isolation, and economic disparities contribute greatly to feelings of frustration and despair that could potentially push individuals towards gun violence. Given the ease of obtaining firearms in certain regions, the potential for deadly attacks amplifies.

As the world grapples with these multifaceted challenges, technology has stepped in to provide a promising solution to enhance active shooter response. In this article, we will explore how AI-video analytics can assist in reducing the threat of active shootings and minimizing their devastating consequences.

AI-video analytics: a game-changer in active shooter mitigation

AI-powered video analytics leverages machine learning algorithms to analyze video footage in real-time, identifying patterns and anomalies that may indicate a potential threat. If a person brandishing a weapon appears in the view of the camera, the system will detect them and immediately alert security personnel so that they can initiate a swift response. It is noted that mass shooters often draw their guns prior to entering a facility. So, by leveraging AI algorithms, weapons or suspicious behavior can often be detected before an incident escalates, thus providing security with more time to neutralize an active shooter and even prevent potential attacks.

Most public and private entities already have CCTV cameras in their facilities to monitor the premises and prevent crimes. A good thing is that active AI video analytics software can be seamlessly integrated with an existing surveillance system, making it an efficient tool to respond to and mitigate shooting situations.

When applied to the context of active shooter scenarios, AI video surveillance offers several significant advantages.

Early threat detection

Since the active shooter’s goal is to maximize casualties rather than obtain a concession, the optimal law enforcement tactic is Immediate Action Rapid Deployment. This means swiftly locating and closing in on an active shooter and neutralizing them as soon as possible. Therefore, in an active shooter scenario, the primary goal is to quickly identify potential threats and provide timely alerts to security personnel or law enforcement, enabling them to respond rapidly and effectively. That is what AI-powered video surveillance can ensure.

The key advantage of AI-powered early threat detection is the significant reduction in response time. Traditional surveillance methods rely on human operators to continuously watch video feeds, which can lead to delayed response times due to fatigue, distractions, or a limited field of view. AI, on the other hand, can process a large number of video feeds simultaneously without getting tired or distracted, enabling faster identification of threats.

Gun detection algorithms spot a weapon within a fraction of a second with a high level of accuracy. Scylla’s technology is one of the most accurate and sensitive in the world, boasting an unprecedented 0.1 false-positive rate per day per camera. With this help from AI, security teams no longer need to rely solely on a human-based manual process. They receive a powerful tool that enables them to increase efficiency in a critical situation, saving them precious minutes or seconds and possibly saving lives.

Rapid response

In situations where every second counts, a rapid response can mean the difference between life and death. This is where the help of AI video surveillance is indispensable. The benefits of such systems are clear. By automating the detection process, AI video surveillance systems can significantly reduce the time it takes to identify and respond to an active shooter situation. This means that law enforcement can arrive on the scene faster, potentially stopping the shooter before they have a chance to cause more harm. Additionally, by providing real-time information about the location and nature of the threat, these systems can help law enforcement make more informed decisions about how to respond.

Physical security

Enhanced situational awareness

In the military, there is a term called "fog of war", which describes the impact of a lack of information in a chaotic and stressful situation. During an active shooter incident, the security team seldom has real-time situational awareness of the attacker’s location and activity. However, this knowledge has a huge impact on providing an adequate response and mitigating consequences. In large buildings with complex layouts, the task of locating the adversary turns out to be a great challenge for the police, who can waste a lot of time searching the building before they find the attacker.

By leveraging AI-video analytics, law enforcement will get valuable real-time information about the assailant’s activity to work out a better strategy to neutralize them and save the lives of people inside. Security officers in the control room can track the attacker’s movements through cameras and relay valuable updates to the on-site responders so that they can make informed decisions and adapt their strategies to the evolving threat situation. These insights can also help to quickly and safely evacuate people from the affected areas.

Securing facilities

The integration of access control systems with AI video analytics can also be an effective and efficient solution to ensure the safety of people in emergency situations. In the event of an active shooting, the access control system can be activated to lock down certain areas of the building and prevent the shooter from moving around freely while also allowing freedom of movement for the response team.

Post-incident analysis

After an incident, AI can aid in facilitating investigations by reviewing the surveillance footage from the incident and helping to reconstruct the sequence of events. Post-incident analysis can provide critical information that will help bring the perpetrator to justice as well as improve future response strategies.

How Scylla is used to address the issue

Scylla AI utilizes your existing security infrastructure and transforms it into a proactive surveillance system searching for potential physical security risks. The Scylla Gun Detection System is programmed to identify a wide variety of firearms in real-time and track the gunman across the connected cameras even when the weapon has been hidden.

We have performed about 300 installations across 33 countries, allowing client institutions to overcome the common shortcomings of security officers and increase their active shooter preparedness. For example, Scylla’s software is successfully used for weapon detection at diverse public places, ranging from a zoo in Ohio, helping to mitigate active shooter threats, to the Iowa State Fair, supplementing their police department in monitoring the fairgrounds and elevating situational awareness and operational efficiency. It also detects behavioral anomalies identified as threats, such as fights and other aggressive behaviors.

Scylla AI helped the Chicago Cubs address their specific security challenges, such as high-angle shooting, one of the major threats to an open environment like a concert or a sporting event, according to James McJunkin. He said that Scylla AI was utilized to monitor and analyze baseline activity on rooftops 24/7, identifying behavior anomalies and alerting the JOC center so that they could assess the threat and take the appropriate response.

According to the FBI, after businesses, the second most common place where active shooting incidents occur are educational institutions. That is why, together with Konica Minolta, Scylla AI is now deployed in a number of US schools to implement visible weapon detection, thus helping them prevent shooter situations and keep students safe.

Final Takeaway

As active shooter incidents continue to challenge our societies, it's imperative to harness the power of technology to protect lives and create safer environments. AI-video analytics represents a critical step forward in identifying and mitigating active shooter threats. By combining human expertise with AI's analytical capabilities, we can enhance security measures, respond more effectively, and ultimately work towards preventing these tragic events from occurring in the first place.

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