Partnerships Between Community and Law Enforcement Help Drive New Real-Time Surveillance Standards
What Are Real-Time Crime Centers?
Serving as centralized hubs for a variety of community-based surveillance technologies, Real-Time Crime Centers allow law enforcement to carry out “intelligence-led” policing strategies in a specific area. According to a recent study by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in collaboration with students from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, this strategy primarily uses video cameras that are installed in neighborhoods and broadcast to the RTCCs. Then, civilian analysts and officers watch the content and process it through advanced analytical software. This is just one of the ways that RTCCs help law enforcement groups take an in-depth look at community activity and maintain strict surveillance practices.
Some may confuse RTCCs with Fusion Centers, and vice versa, but there is a distinct difference. When it comes to the scale of surveillance, RTCCs offer law enforcement and analysts a much more detailed perspective on potential criminal activity than Fusion Centers. For example, RTCCs gather information on the county or municipal level concerning matters like car theft, gun crime and more issues within a general framework of public safety and security. Fusion Centers, on the other hand, generally function on the state level, fall into a network of centers run by the Department of Homeland Security and handle threats to national security. In this way, RTCCs are able to zero in on community-specific issues that affect citizens’ day-to-day lives.
How Many RTCCs Exist?
RTCCs are widespread in the United States and benefit numerous communities. EFF’s study states that there are currently 80 RTCCs in place, spread over 29 states. The study notes that the highest concentration of RTCCs can be found in the Northeast and the South, with New York and Florida leading in Center concentration. The strategies that each RTCC uses are determined by the area’s size, needs and specific concerns in mind. For example, there are significantly fewer surveillance cameras in a city like Albuquerque, New Mexico — just a few hundred — than there are in a city like Atlanta, where there are more than 12,000 cameras in use. EFF’s report specifies that despite the difference in the number of cameras in certain cities, the number of cameras in each city continues to increase. RTCCs are becoming more widespread, which also indicates a rising financial commitment from cities, depending on which measures are implemented.
The Implications of RTCCs
RTCCs provide local law enforcement with the information they need to respond appropriately to different communities’ surveillance requirements. Moreover, this partnership between communities and law enforcement creates a unifying mindset that helps to build safer neighborhoods, towns and cities. However, there can be misconceptions when it comes to the “real-time” aspect of RTCCs. For instance, while there is an emphasis on analyzing and processing data in real time (as is the case with video footage from community cameras), RTCCs often use their systems to store information over months and years in search of compelling correlations and patterns. This allows law enforcement entities to engage in what is called “predictive policing,” which involves honing in on areas where authorities believe crime is most likely to occur. While this strategy remains largely controversial and is not yet proven to be entirely dependable, it does suggest that the information gathered by RTCCs could be helpful to identify patterns in criminal activity or community security in the future.
The Best Surveillance Technology for Less
Advanced surveillance strategies like those used in RTCCs are constantly evolving to protect the communities they serve. Always up-to-date on the latest developments, LaTech is at the forefront of security and surveillance technologies that protect private citizens every day. To learn more about how surveillance is developing to better serve your communities, speak with a friendly professional at LaTech today — simply call 225-214-3038 or fill out our quick contact form.