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Trailhead parking lots are notorious for crime activity - including from bears. These remote, un-patrolled locations, hidden in dense forests, attract all sorts of bad guys. One original crime is thieves stealing the park fees paid by hikers. These fees consist of $5 bills inserted by trail users (hikers) in an envelope, and dropped in a locked mailbox at the trailhead. These wooden boxes are easy to break and repair, for the purpose of stealing some of the $5 bills. A smart thieve would probably visit 10 trailhead parking lots with lots of hikers once a week, at night, and steal 50% of the envelopes (stealing 100% would attract police's attention). It could easily generate a $50,000 income a year, with little work, and low risk - especially since there are so many agencies involved in charging and collecting these fees. A really smart thieve would steal only $5,000 a year from each agency, but would target 10 different agencies associated with 10 different, popular hikes.
I'm not saying this crime is happening, but it is a possibility. Another type of crime would be perpetrated by official employees collecting these fees, and keeping a small percentage for themselves.
How would you detect this crime? Installing web cams might be too expensive in these remote locations with no Internet, no cell phone service. And how to prevent this crime from happening in the first place? And how to make sure every hiker pays the fee - usually $5 per day. Let's answer some of these questions.
How to make all hikers pay the fee?
Or increase payment rate by 30%. Last time I did one of these hikes, you had to either have a pass (to display in your car), or put a $5 bill in an envelope and fill a form (write down your licence plate number to prove that you paid). Like most tech guys, I had no pen to fill the form (I never carry a pen as I write notes on my cell phone), I had no dollar bills (I pay with credit cards), and I had no idea how/where to get a pass, and which of many different passes was required or OK for that specific hike.
So I came up with the following ideas for these agencies to collect the fees:
How to prevent fees from being stolen by trailhead burglars or bad employees?
What are you ideas? And how would you check if this crime is actually occurring (and where) and eating a decent amount of the revenue? You might even create your own job, by contacting all these agencies and offering data science services to increase revenue / reduce fraud. Each of these local agencies might be too small to hire a full-time data scientist, but they could split the cost and have one centralized data scientist work for all of them.