SEPTA plans to install AI gun detection software to improve public safety in Philadelphia


SEPTA Station, 15th Street, April 18, 2022. Credit: Jesse Zhang

From next year, SEPTA will implement artificial intelligence-based gun detection software into its surveillance cameras as part of efforts to tackle gun-related crimes committed on transport systems.

Technology from a company called ZeroEyes uses artificial intelligence to find out if an individual has a gun. It will then send an instant notification to the ZeroEyes referral center located in Conshohocken, Pa. And SEPTA police will be notified of the incident within 3 to 5 seconds. After the alert is issued, police officers will arrive at the scene from seconds if they are already in a specific station, up to several minutes if the nearest officer is stationed at a nearby station.

SEPTA approved a six-month pilot program of technology and a $ 63,000 budget for implementation at its November meeting. Three hundred out of 30,000 live cameras currently installed in SEPTA stations will be provided with ZeroEyes technology.

Initially, the implementation will focus on most stations on the Market-Frankford Line and Broad Street Line, but eventually it will grow to include a diverse array of subways, wheelchairs and bus stations.

SEPTA is the first shipping agency to implement the ZeroEyes program, although it is being used by the US Department of Defense and other entities.

The implementation of ZeroEyes technology comes at a time after the recent incidents of violence on the SEPTA system.

Andrew Busch, media communications director for SEPTA, told The Daily Pennsylvanian: “We are unfortunately dealing with gun violence issues around the country, and while those incidents are rare on even one SEPTA. Too much. ” .

He added that SEPTA is aware that its passengers are concerned about safety and security and they hope to reassure passengers that making them feel safe is a top priority.

In New York City, the MTA is testing a platform barrier after a woman was pushed to her death in front of a train at Times Square Subway Station. Busch said SEPTA is focusing on what other shipping agencies across the country are doing to increase safety.

SEPTA intends to conduct further studies to see if such technology will be effective. However, Busch said that due to the cost of implementing the technology, he did not expect it to happen anytime soon.

In addition to the technology, ZeroEyes SEPTA plans to place unarmed security guards in the station who can monitor everything that is happening and enforce laws such as banning smoking and people paying for rides.

SEPTA is also increasing the number of promotional workers it employs. These are trained social workers who aim to help the most vulnerable people of Philadelphia, including those who are homeless, addicted to drugs or have mental health problems. SEPTA currently has 30 promotional staff, but it will increase its budget to 57.

“We are trying to help people in crisis and treat them with kindness and dignity and help them get the services they need. But we, too, as a part, must make it clear that the station or train or bus is not suitable as a shelter or where drugs can be used when open.

Busch also mentioned that SEPTA raised the salaries of its transit police officers earlier this year after noticing that their salaries were not in competition with the Philadelphia Police Department. SEPTA is currently in the process of hiring and training new officers.

Busch summarized that all of SEPTA’s efforts to improve travel safety, including the ZeroEyes program, were not meant to cause significant changes in the way the system works. They aim to use what is already there and innovate to eliminate existing security issues.

He said he did not expect cyclists to notice differences like the new cameras, adding that the intent behind the technology was to track incidents and what SEPTA could intervene in. They.

“We hope it will be reassured. [our riders]And we are looking forward to seeing how it goes and see if [the ZeroEyes program] Busch said.


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