Digital Quality of Life: Public Safety

24 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2008

See all articles by Daniel Castro

Daniel Castro

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Julie A. Hedlund

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: October 2, 2008


In addition to improving the quality of life for millions of people, information technology (IT) in many instances is being used as a tool to actually save lives. IT is used to improve the safety of individuals every day, although many do not realize its importance. Fifteen years ago, efforts to stop crime and terrorism relied on traditional mechanisms: strict physical security at vulnerable facilities, intelligence gathering by government agents, vigilance on the part of all citizens, and a sense of community in which all citizens played a role in protecting each other. These techniques have not been replaced, but nations today have IT as an additional powerful, new tool to ensure public safety.

Much of public safety relies on getting the right information to the right people. Governments use IT to secure their borders against external threats, aid law enforcement in fighting crime, and help communities prepare for, and recover from, disasters. Law enforcement agencies use IT to communicate and share information, monitor and detect crime, and respond to disasters. Finally, IT is at the forefront of the science used by researchers to better understand the complex weather systems that constantly threaten our societies. The IT revolution has given governments the tools, infrastructure, and capabilities to make public safety easier, less expensive, and more effective.

Keywords: public safety, information, technology, it, government, police, security, law enforcement, crime

JEL Classification: H56, O3, O33, O38

Suggested Citation

Castro, Daniel and Hedlund, Julie A., Digital Quality of Life: Public Safety (October 2, 2008). Available at SSRN: or

Daniel Castro (Contact Author)

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation ( email )

1101 K Street NW
Suite 610
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Julie A. Hedlund

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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