NYPD, Microsoft create crime-fighting tech system

NEW YORK — A 911 call comes in about a possible bomb in lower Manhattan and an alert pops up on computer screens at the New York Police Department, instantly showing officers an interactive map of the neighborhood, footage from nearby security cameras, whether there are high radiation levels, and whether any other threats have been made against the city.

In a click, police know exactly what they are facing.

This hypothetical scenario may seem like a futuristic crime drama, but the technology is real, developed in a partnership between the nation’s largest police department and Microsoft Corp., and the latest version has been quietly in use for about a year.


The project could pay off in more ways than one: The NYPD could make tens of millions of dollars in an unprecedented marketing deal that permits Microsoft to sell the system to other law enforcement agencies and civilian companies worldwide. The city will get a 30 percent cut.

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The Domain Awareness System, known as ‘‘the dashboard,’’ instantaneously mines data from the police department’s voluminous arrest records, 911 calls, more than 3,000 security cameras citywide, license plate readers, and portable radiation detectors, and assembles it in an easy-to-use form.

Right now, it is used only in NYPD offices, primarily in the counterterrorism unit. Eventually, the system could supply crime-fighting information in real time to officers on laptops in their squad cars and on mobile devices while they walk along the beat.