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you can engineer ways to prevent crime

So I’ve got a funny joke.

A man walks into a bar, holding a gun. He then robs the bartender. While doing so, a security guard shoots him dead.

Afterward, the courts find the guard innocent and public opinion approves of it.


Don’t find it funny? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. To most normal people, that sounds like a perfectly reasonable way of dealing with the criminal.

The reason it’s not funny to you is because you feel despair. You can’t imagine any other way to prevent it. An armed man? Robbing a place? You have to shoot him, what else can you POSSIBLY do?

I suggest that you can disable all crime with a little bit of engineering. All — not most. ALL of it

Just sit back and dream

Try to envision a way to prevent armed robberies.

I’ll do it now. Here is what I came up with, nearly instantly:

  • Fog canisters. When an alarm is sounded, fog canisters hidden in the room will burst and instantly flood the room with fog — and keep it flooded until police arrive. Without the ability to see, the criminal will be unable to aim his weapon. People will be able to escape. The criminal will be unable to bolt for the exit without being slow and cautious of obstacles.
  • Face Recognition — Permit all crime to happen and have no security. Instead, have every citizen in a police database with their face information. Simply review the camera footage, have the computer identify him, and then arrest him. Finding him will be easy — all warrants for arrest will be linked to the CCTV computer system, which silently sounds an alarm when a wanted man walks down any public street, metro, bus, or cooperating business. Police simply walk up and take him.
  • Eliminate the money. Make the business electronic payment only. Without cash to steal, you will never have criminals stealing cash. The desire to enter has been eliminated from the criminal himself.
  • Use cashierless technology. Send the man a bill for whatever he takes. Such as Amazon Go or road toll violators.

Think this is madness?

Well let me share a true story of a city who did this — Stockholm. This is what opened my eyes to this truth.

Stockholm had, at one point, a problem with violent robberies on city buses… men boarding the bus, harming the driver, and running off with cash. A very easy crime. Very likely to get away with it.

Well, how did they manage to stop that? And by “stop”, I mean reduce the number to ZERO incidents?

They removed cash from the buses. They simply went electronic.

This, at first, didn’t sit well with me. I felt (at first) like I lost a freedom. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized they are right. While this example is simple and easy to digest — this IDEA behind it can be expanded to any crime, in any place.

When you look at crime today, think about this. Don’t despair and applaud the police who shoot criminals. No. That is a bad joke. Instead, try to imagine a way to prevent the crime from ever taking place. Then share your idea with hope of seeing it installed into our world.

You’ll make a better world for us all if you do