Armed Robbery accounted for 26% of all violent crime in the United States in 2018*
16% of robberies take place at people’s residences. In 2019, roughly 21,000 robberies were committed using a knife.
A summer evening in the suburbs of Boston:
It’s dusk. A mom is returning home with her two children to their apartment. It’s been a great day. Her 11-year-old son hit a home run, winning the game for his team. Her 5-year-old daughter is still wearing the blue ribbon she won at day camp. Mom is carrying her purse and a sack full of groceries, thinking about making everyone’s favorite dinner.
The stairwell to their apartment is between the buildings. The stairs are well lit, but the space is narrow. A man wearing a mask steps from behind the stairs wielding a knife, demanding her purse. She drops the sack, breaking the eggs and pushes her children behind her while she begs for their lives. The man cuts her purse from her shoulder nicking the woman’s arm with his knife, then runs off into the gathering darkness. He has taken her phone. Her son begins to knock on doors, screaming for help, begging people to call 911. Her daughter is frozen with fear watching the blood run from her mother’s arm. At least they have escaped with their lives.
10% of All Armed Robberies Take Place at Gas Stations and Convenience Stores. In 2019, roughly 96,000 robberies were committed using a gun.
Christmas Eve, Downtown Houston:
A man in his 60’s, known to his family as Grandpa D, is getting ready to close his convenience store for the night. There’s one customer left. He checks on the young man in one of the many mirrors throughout the store. He’s staring at the beer selection. Grandpa D hopes he will make a choice soon so he can close up and get home for a late dinner with his wife. The young man finally brings a six-pack of Irish beer to the counter. From behind the beer, he pulls a gun. “Empty the cash register into a bag and give it to me!” he yells as he glances from the door to the old man and back again. “Hurry up.” Grandpa D rushes to comply. A customer enters the shop. The bell on the door rings, startling the robber who fires at the owner. The customer runs out the door. He jumps in his car and drives off – never thinking to call 911. The robber finishes emptying the register and runs out. The store owner rests on the floor, his back against a wall, blood seeping from a wound in his neck. He won’t be home for dinner. He won’t be with his grandchildren on Christmas morning. He won’t be going home at all. By the time anyone finds him, he will have bled to death on the floor of his shop behind the empty register.
37% of all Armed Robberies are in the United States are committed on the street. Roughly 108,000 robberies were committed using “strong arm” or violence.
Wednesday afternoon after detention:
A young man is on his way home from school. He’s late. He’s been late all day. He was late getting up and late getting to school. The principal gave him detention, so he’s late getting home. He was supposed to mow the lawn. Mom and Dad will get home before he does. They’ll see the tall grass; they’ll wonder where he is. He’ll be in trouble again. The boy quickens his pace and turns a corner into the alleyway between the bank and a boutique. A short cut. He feels the punch before he sees it. He’s sitting on the ground. His nose is bleeding. “Give ‘em up!” a deep voice shouts. “Your wallet! Your phone! Now!” He reaches into his pocket and hands over his phone and a couple of singles.
“That’s it,” he says weekly through the blood. “That’s all I’ve got.”
The robbers fist lands on his ear. “Your wallet!”
The boy digs in his back pocket and hands over his wallet. His license – only days old, the picture of his girlfriend, seven dollars.” Another blow. This one knocks his head against the brick wall of the bank. Silence.
Hours later he wakes in a hospital bed, his mother and father nearby. Their voices are muffled. He hears nothing through the ear that was struck. He never will again.
The statistics for armed robbery in the United States are alarming. These crimes take place all day, every day of the year – in shocking numbers. The humanity of these crimes is heartbreaking. Real people, people just like us, are victims of robbery all over the country at all times of the day and night. Lives are lost, people are crippled. Victims who survive will never be the same, may never get a peaceful night’s sleep again.
Through good policing and better public policy, the numbers are going down. But each robbery, each number represents another victim, another life broken or destroyed. The Athena Security System was designed to stop crime – before it happens. We can enable existing surveillance equipment with Computer Vision technology. Regular cameras configured with our system can recognize a knife or gun – even when holstered. Computer Vision cameras can spot when a punch is thrown. As soon as the information is verified – usually within three seconds – an alert is sent to security or police (or both). Real-time live video is streamed to authorized devices. Authorities can identify the robber and even speak to him to let him know that he has been seen and that police are on the way. Enabled cameras can operate singly or be networked together. They can be configured to alert a single individual – like a business owner, or an entire security team. Customers who wish can have verified alerts automatically sent to local police with live video from all networked cameras. Banks, stores, apartment complexes, parking lots, ally ways between buildings, and busy streets can be monitored by Computer Vision.
Every Athena Security System Computer-Vision enabled camera has the potential to stop an armed robbery, a rape, an active shooter. Reports with live feed are sent to authorities in the blink of an eye so that they can respond quickly and effectively. EMS can be alerted to the location and condition of victims before a single 911 call has been made. No waiting for a victim to be discovered. No panicked children banging on the doors of strangers, begging for help. No wounded grandfather bleeding to death because no one knew he was hurt. No boy alone in an ally bleeding from his ear and nose while his parents, frantic with worry, search for him.
Athena Security Systems have brought to the market the ability to stop armed robbers from victimizing our friends, our loved ones, our families. Until now, surveillance cameras provided after-the-fact video of crimes. If the angle was right, perhaps the police could identify the perpetrator – who has long since fled. They could watch the crime taking place long after the shot has been fired and the victim has died. Athena Security Systems has moved us beyond after-the-fact to the immediacy of stopping crime before it begins.
* Statistics from.fbi.gov