Real-time crime centers: A look into the new-age tool every agency could use
Thursday, August 08, 2019
Data for the first six months of 2019 shows a huge decrease in crime in Fort Myers, Florida. The city’s police department said that it owes the good news to better policing strategies, used in tandem with new technology.
Fort Myers’ Real-Time Crime Center played a significant role in bringing down the numbers. Additional technologies like the ShotSpotter gunshot detection system and the Citiview camera system played a role as well. Together, these tools provide the force with data-driven crime analytics to solve crimes and apprehend perpetrators in record time.
More and more police departments are now looking to allocate a part of their budget to set up these real-time crime centers. They act as a hub of the surveillance camera network for each city, with officers monitoring them in real time.
In places where the centers have been established, they have allowed officers to solve crimes faster than before.
In Memphis, for example, police were able to apprehend a shooter in a matter of hours with the help of surveillance footage seen by midnight shift officers at the Memphis Police Department’s Real-Time Crime Center.
Officers then received detailed information on the suspect’s escape route and posted the surveillance photos of the suspect to social media. The shooter was in custody a few hours later.
Officers at the center can start working a scene before first responders even get there. This can help bridge the gap between crimes and officer appearances on the scene, adding real value to the crimefighting mission of any city.
Huge cities like Chicago, Detroit, and New York City are way ahead of the game. The Birmingham (Alabama) Police Department is all set to follow those examples to set up a state-of-the-art facility, pending approval of $1.5 million.
The system will add more eyes looking out for public safety, starting with 95 surveillance cameras in designated areas based on crime trends. More than anything, surveillance officers will know exactly what is going on.
They can see if evidence is being hidden or removed and who is involved so they can direct first responders right to them. They also hope to increase reports of gun violence in urban areas with the help of outdoor acoustic sensors. These will help tell the number of shots fired, pinpoint the location and other details, all within 60 seconds through high-tech software.
Detroit’s city council is looking to expand the city’s Real-Time Crime Center. It is working with participating businesses like gas stations and pharmacies to install surveillance cameras on their property. These cameras will feed directly to the crime center. Motor City authorities are also talking to churches and schools to do the same.
The council has agreed to a $4 million infusion on top of the nearly $8 million it allocated in 2016. Along with the expansion of the center, the new funds will also help launch two precinct-based centers.
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