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City of Mesa approves plans for Real-Time Crime Center

Mesa Real-Time Crime Center
Posted at 10:09 PM, Sep 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-23 07:29:50-04

MESA, AZ — The City of Mesa is using technology to streamline the process of tackling crime.

The city council has approved plans for a Real-Time Crime Center. The renderings of the center show two pods, each with a dedicated video wall.

It will start off with two officers and two civilians monitoring all City of Mesa traffic and municipality building cameras. They will have access to the live streams in hopes of not only reducing crime but preventing it.

"We get a 911 call for an armed robbery at a certain location, as soon as the dispatcher enters that, or the 911 operator enters that address for that emergency call - boom - the Real-Time Crime Center staff will get an alert on their computer screen and it will also direct to the cameras that are in the immediate area of that incident," says Sgt. Chuck Trapani with the Mesa Police Department.

The video wall will allow them to zoom into specific areas. This could help with a suspect's description, what vehicle they are driving, and the direction of travel.

When talking about cameras, there are always privacy concerns. Some homeowners want to know what will and will not be monitored.

"If you can tap into those types of cameras, what would stop them from making a law that would allow them from tapping into Rings and your home security and things like that," says Alicia Webster, a concerned resident.

We asked Mesa police and they say, that is not the case.

"We’re actually developing our own individual policy just for the Real-Time Crime Center to ensure all those federal privacy laws and regulations are included in that policy," says Sgt. Trapani.

Officials say they will be asking business owners who have CCTV security cameras if they would be willing to enter into an agreement to share footage. This would allow officers to get straight to the investigative process.

"Like door-to-door after every major incident, we won’t have to do that anymore. Those detectives can actually do real follow-up, like interviewing witnesses or collecting other types of evidence," says Sgt. Trapani.

The price tag for the center is $3.3 million, with the money coming from COVID relief funds.

This was a recommendation made by the Biden Administration in June with the president mentioning that the pandemic has caused another crisis for law enforcement: gun violence.

The center is expected to be fully built in three to five years inside the old City of Mesa court building. In the meantime, it will temporarily be housed in a section of the current court building.