As they originally began to roll out over the course of the last decade or so, traffic cameras were initially designed for one — maybe two — different goals. First, they could quickly identify people who were speeding based on comparing information obtained from radar to programmed data about the speed limit in a particular location. Second, using pre-determined geographic zones, they could instantly tell when someone ran a red light or a stop sign at an intersection. Traffic citations — most of which were handled via third-party vendors — would then be mailed out to offending drivers as a result.

Then, a lot of this technology went mobile. The same principles that were used in traffic cameras were applied to dash cameras, which are now commonplace in many cities around the world. It’s not uncommon to see a “traffic car” parked on the side of the road in a major highway, checking speeds and issuing citations to motorists for violating limits in highly congested areas, in dangerous locations like construction or school zones and more. The added benefit of this was that it was almost entirely mobile — the location of the traffic car may change, but the functionality of the included dash camera remained vigilant.

Now, these types of dash cameras seem to be on the cusp of evolution yet again. A number of new advancements are on the way that aim to keep the streets around the globe as safe for all of us as possible, and many countries are currently leading the way in that regard.

Crime Fighting Dash Cameras: What You Need to Know

Rwanda is just one example of a country that is embracing the next stage in the evolution of dash cameras, as it was recently revealed that a totally new system will soon roll out in Kigali designed to detect a wide range of different traffic offenses — including those occurring at the same time. This comes after the Rwandan government already spent more than $5 billion in local currency installing CCTV cameras in a lot of these same locations.

In addition to guarding against speed violations, these next-generation dash cameras can also detect instances of road rage, unsafe driving practices as they relate to pedestrians or motorcyclists, and much more. Because of their deployment, there will also be a reduction in the total number of policemen on the roads across Kigali. There will be fewer officers who are assigned specifically to traffic duty as well.

Not only are the cameras capable of detecting drivers who are currently violating traffic laws, but they’re also able to identify people who have done so in the past, too. Part of the appeal of these dash cameras is the fact that they can pick out people who have received traffic fines in the mail but who have yet to pay them, thus issuing another citation as a result.

For Rwanda in particular, this move comes at a particularly important time. Not only is Rwanda one of the fastest developing nations in the area, but it is also welcoming more and more guests each year due to international summits, tourism and other factors. Winnie Nabaasa, an executive at the technology firm Ison BPO based in the country, said that the program “is a good idea because both the growing economy and the hosting of important international meetings increases the need for maximum security to protect both visitors and locals.”

Even members of the local legal community are coming out in support of the program, with attorney Antoine Mukamusoni going as far as to say that “everyone should embrace the program, as it will both reduce the number of crimes we have to deal with and accelerate security in the community at the same time.”

At this point, it’s too early to tell whether or not Rwanda’s new dash camera program is successful in its ultimate goal of fighting crime the tech-savvy way. It’s clear that this is a major step in the right direction, however, and it is a development that a lot of communities around the world will no doubt be watching with great anticipation.