If we are going to address economic empowerment in the Black community, we have to address the current crime situation. Right now, our current environment has a lot of people just running their mouth about the issue. You got some African-Americans referencing our Black youth with the n-word and saying they are out of control and have no respect for life. Then you have the other cats in denial saying the hood is not that bad and ignore the high amount of unreported rape and robberies that go on every day. No matter which way anybody thinks or run their mouth, crime does go on in the hood and the real discussion is finding a solution.
Dream and Hustle can be like Black Enterprise magazine and not talk about community development and focus on silly uppity top 100 lists, slideshows and recycled financial articles topics we can already get at About.com. Or Dream and Hustle can be like Black Web 2.0 and have a bunch of Black tech wannabees trying to get Robert Scoble or Michael Arrington to like them and hopefully some Silicon Valley VC firm will invest in them. But we thought about it and decided that Dream and Hustle should focus on community development and focus on technology solutions and be on that real ish for our people.
So this article is going to talk about crime in the Black community and the technology solution we can apply to deal with it. The funny part is Angela Benton over there at Black Web 2.0 and those NewMe North Cali cats are too busy wanting to get the VC firms to like them when all the real technology opportunity is right here in our Black communities. Isn’t that funny as hell? I mean, if you going to claim that you Black, you 2.0 and you about technology, wouldn’t you focus on you and yours? The Africans over in Africa are focusing on doing stuff for their people with technology such as SMS solutions to check grain supply and set prices as well as mobile money transfers and remittance services for ex-pats. But here in America, we got people like Angela Benton wanting to be famous before getting rich hoping to be liked by those in Silicon Valley, go figure.
Let me give cats a clue being a real technology expert on that real level of being Black – if you want to get rich and stack sick paper in technology, focus on technology solutions affecting your own brothas and sistas current situation, real talk.
If we solve the problem of creating retailing in our hoods, we can apply that same solution to be sold worldwide.
If we solve the problem of cashless transactions in our hood, we can apply that same solution to be sold worldwide.
If we solve the self-publishing and self-distribution of media in our hood, we can apply that same solution to be sold worldwide.
If we solve the problem of security in our hood, we can apply that solution to be sold worldwide.
Be about your own people – that’s where it is really at, not Silicon Valley. The VCs already know what I’m talking about which is why I got more clout than all of these wannabee Black Web 2.0/NewMe clowns and don’t have to broadcast that fact either.
I have to give this kind of background because I want you to fully understand if you solve this crime issue we have in our community, you may be one of the quickest to billionaire the world has seen. Everybody and everything need better security and our current system is not working. That ADT crap where they kick in your door and the alarm sound ain’t no good if your neighbors don’t give a f*ck and the donut eating cops taking their time to see what’s going on. And what good is having a camera just to watch people come into your home or business and tear everything up, is it just entertainment on YouTube?
Security cameras are not good enough because they are passive and do nothing but record the crime as it happen. Detecting suspected activity early on and intervention for prevention is what you are really after with cameras. The real use of security cameras is when you have a real person who is a professional that can monitor those cameras and understand what is being done in real-time and can pan and zoom in on suspected activity. But many of you cats are buying these plug and play cameras and thinking that supposed to matter and you are not even monitoring in real-time.
And those alarm systems that let you check your web camera from your mobile tablet or smart phone is just you “polling” to see if everything is alright or they broke into your ish. No, you need to have artificial intelligence built in the camera to replicate the actions a live professional would recognize if you want to make these security cameras effective. And that’s your super get rich billion dollar opportunity, creating “smart cameras” for the hood to help our community reduce opportunist crimes from happening and what this article is about.
What is a Smart Camera?
Well, the camera is still “dumb” where it just stream a video feed, where it gets smart is how you process the video feed through software to detect certain patterns and objects. Instead of just straight recording the video to hard drive for the police and insurance firm to look at the damage done to you and your property at a later time, “smart cameras” can detect activities and respond if those activities meet the criteria of a situation that will likely result in a crime occurring.
Yes, many of you may realize this sound like the movie Minority Report and it does. People be making me laugh when they refer to that movie by the glass touchless screen interface which is not the best technology that movie promoted. The best technology that movie promoted was the use of data to predict a crime from occurring using existing patterns.
There are two types of patterns we can use for smart cameras to create data to make a determination if something is going down in the hood. The first pattern is image processing and the second pattern is object detection. For those that are more advanced, they already figured out the next two paragraph is going to discuss augmented reality.
By applying certain filters to a video feed, we can transform the image to notice or highlight objects better. Thermal imaging is a way to detect heated objects like living people or running vehicles in the dark as they produce light different than objects with no heat. In summary, the way images are processed are they are transformed into colors like green and we can extract everything that is not green or only focus on the red color in the image.
Once we apply a filter if we need to, we can then detect objects. Once we detect the object, we can highlight with a square so it can stand out. Now, once we detect the object we can then take that video frame and save it as a jpeg image. Then maybe we can do some post-processing such as facial recognition or car recognition or something like that. Similar to how the cop cars scan our license plates with those cameras on the back.
Augmented Reality and Pattern Detection
Now once you transform the video feed and can detect objects, now you can start extracting data from the video and now you will have a smart camera that can do more than just record. The key thing is you have to understand xy coordinates that is also known as the Cartesian Coordinate System and why I told you cats that STEM is extremely important to African-Americans in this day in age.
Yep, you are going to have to learn those math formulas to make xy calculations to detect movement and location. The funny part is I bet you these formulas are in your high school geometry math book that you still got in that storage area collecting dust. The xy formulas are already on the Internet doing some nice searches to help you so get all in a bunch that you have to learn math over again – you just need to know what algorithm you looking for and know how to apply these math formulas.
Now you can do time/space calculations such as determine speed of the object being detection. If the object is located at (3,3) in one video frame and the next frame is (3,4) then you can determine the object is moving, how fast the object is moving and in what direction. So with that said, that is how you can now create both augmented reality and pattern detection and create smart cameras.
Using Smart Cameras as Security Solutions in the Hood
Most of the crimes in the hood are consider opportunist crimes where cats are stalking or waiting for an opportunity to strike and hope no one notice them. The thugs are waiting to run up on someone, they standing there scoping out people or they take radical action like smash and grabs or running after snatching something from someone hand. These are patterns we can detect with smart cameras.
The three things that come to mind to track in terms of security is the movement, track the person or object who fit a profile and track a count of people. Those are probably the three things we can focus on with smart security cameras for the hood.
By tracking movement we can tell if an object is just standing there for a long period of time, we can even tell when one object appear to be following another object on camera. In addition we can also tell if an object is running fast. When these patterns match an algorithm we already defined or even begin to materialize in a few milliseconds, we can use alternative cameras to zoom in and alert others in the area to watch this “suspicious activity”. This is really good for home security because no one should be running towards your home; just even a second of fast movement should trigger some kind of alarm to give you advance warning.
You can track a car but how about tracking a car at night driving with the lights off? Shouldn’t that be a major alarm if the camera detect that and alert people something appears to be going on? In addition and this is from a previous article, I believe anybody who goes into a retail establishment wearing a cap or a hooded jacket should be scrutinized with high definition cameras and security be alerted immediately, especially in the hood.
In addition and I haven’t covered this, but face recognition should be possible. We can load up a known list of criminals and perverts in our community based on public domain arrest mugshots and the video feed can track a person face and look it up against a database. Many people say this is an attack on privacy but this is actually a private business running this to protect themselves – don’t shop with them if you don’t want your privacy but if this makes the hood safer for our people to come up and do for self and uplift the community by reducing the crime element, oh well.
Note: This facial recognition capability is the number one reason why I oppose the Occupy Wall Street movement as ineffective. You bet your ass they used this technology on the Occupy Movement crowd. And those faces can be stored in databases and retrieved on job interviews and security clearances. We in 21st century 2012, dude.
Why is three people just standing in the hallway of an stairway entrance to an apartment? Why are 25 people moving towards a city block and we see another 25 objects hiding around cars on that same block? Why are there a few objects still on the school ground when all kids supposed to be in class? These are the type of counts that matter that cameras should be reporting back to us so we can investigate further what is going on in our surroundings.
Use of Triggers
In all of the examples above for suspicious activities, I discussed patterns we can look for and alert us. In order to enable that, we use a system called triggers that alert us once something match a pattern we loaded into our smart camera system. So a smart camera will allow us to add new patterns and algorithms and update like updated GPS maps to a GPS system to detect new trends and patterns like a flash mob.
What happens is all of the patterns are loaded up and the smart camera activity see if the mathematical formulas are being calculated the say we predicted. If the mathematics are being performed and we detect two cats with caps or hood walking in our commercial zone, then a trigger in invoke a command such as start face recognition automatically or alert the beat cop of this “suspicious activity” and observe. This also can be done on neighborhood watch cameras when suspicious cats come on the block.
How to Move Forward on Creating Smart Cameras in the Hood
I noticed this cat on YouTube basically broke down some of the stuff I’m talking about in this video so check it out:
Note: Let me explain the numbers you see next to the guy eyes in this video. the x and y are the coordinates on the screen and help position the red dot overlay. But the last number that is 's' is the scale and this help us determine distance. If he move close to the camera, the object get bigger and smaller if he move away. He will move closer to the screen in the video so watch the 's' number jump up. This is important because this is how we can capture a "thrust movement" that you will learn about later.
The interesting part is the software to create smart cameras is open source and free to distribute even for profit! The two software I’m been messing with is aforge.net and opencv and you can look for these online. Aforge.net is for the Microsoft Windows platform and they even have samples you can run on your computer against your webcam and can get you up and running. I actually found Aforge.net to be easy to use and program against, even for those mediocre Black Web 2.0 techies. OpenCV is a little more complex requiring advanced programming language such as C and Java but I’m going to keep it real – I like Aforge.net because you get straight to business.
In fact, just in case you didn’t realize reading all these Dream and Hustle posts – what do you think I will be using Aforge.net for? Hmmm..haven’t figure it out yet? If you didn’t say we will be using Aforge.net to make touchless interfaces for flat panel digital signage in the hood that mimic Microsoft Kinnect or Sony Playstation Move, then I’m guess I’m still a bunch of steps ahead of other cats, ain’t I?
Yep, our retailing application for the hood will be using Aforge.net and the funny part is I rewritten my QR code processing to use Aforge.net video processing class and only have to use a few lines to get it running right. But enough about us, let’s talk about you and our community and how to get this smart camera security solution going.
Your first step is obviously brush up on your STEM involving xy coordinates as well as read the documentation and existing coding. Let me give you cats a secret and I mentioned this before – no one in America hardly know this stuff and I’m tired of hearing Americans keep talking about they know technology, especially African-Americans, real talk. When I was stumped on Aforge.net, I had to go to the Chinese and other Asian search engines and find the solution there and they got the solution all broken down. That’s why I keep telling you brothas and sistas you have to look global for solutions for our hoods.
You next step is demonstrations – look, the minute you pull of a demonstration of a smart camera where you can detect knucklehead activities, you might as well go pick out your favorite $100,000 plus luxury car you always wanted to drive and put the custom order in. Because the minute you show you can track and detect and predict these “Black thugs” you’ll have every police department, every business, every homeowner, every apartment complex, every industrial worksite around the world calling up your behind asking where can they send you the purchase order. Charge them all at least $500 and a $49/month pattern update subscription and watch the money pile up.
Because like I told you before, stuff like this smart camera technology is the kind of hood-based solutions Silicon Valley want to see us brothas and sistas do, not some simple Angela Benton and her NewMe comedy show trying to assimilate and be accepted. The minute we solve our problems in our hood with technology, we already solved 90% of the global problems and we got a global solution. And when that happens, we don’t need Silicon Valley and can stack paper on our own terms.
Now with that said, it’s really on you. I gave you a briefing, the software library is open source and royalty free, you got a computer with a cheap web cam on it to test, you can download Microsoft Visual Studio Express for free or get a 60-day free trial of the professional version. You really don’t got an excuse except to sit there and just pout. But if you want to solve a serious problem in the Black community and get serious paper, then what is stopping you from implementing this?