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West Palm Beach police unveil Real Time Crime Center

Posted: 11:18 AM, Nov 14, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-15 14:32:00Z

The West Palm Beach Police Department unveiled its Real Time Crime Center on Wednesday, and also announced the creation of the Citizen and Business Camera Registration Program.

The city approved the $1.2 million Crime Center earlier this year, which includes ShotSpotter, a technology that the Riviera Beach Police Department and the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office in Belle Glade already use. 

"When an explosion occurs, a gunshot occurs, the microphones pick up where the gunshot is, triangulate on that and give us an estimate within about 20 meters of where the gunshot occurred," said Lieutenant Clifford Hagan of the West Palm Beach Police Department back in May.

The technology allows police to respond to a shooting before a 911 call comes in or even if one does not.  

"Some of the research that they've done shows that there could be up to 80 percent of the calls or incidences that we are not capturing because someone has not called and told us about it, or we're not in the area and we don't hear it," said West Palm Beach Police Chief Sarah Mooney in an interview in May.

Lieutenant Hagan says, on average, departments with ShotSpotter see a 35 percent decrease in calls for shots fired. 

The department is also asking citizens to register their home and business surveillance cameras to help detectives verify information quickly to use in conjunction with Shot Spotter and license plate readers.

During WPTV's first look at the Crime Center, Detective Ryan Secord noticed something out of place while monitoring one of the city's cameras. The camera revealed a man stealing a case of beer off a Budweiser truck.

"I'm going to send a screenshot out to everybody via mail and message right now," said Detective Secord over the phone.

The crime center gives West Palm Beach Police more tools for policing, especially in the event of a shooting.

"We’re able to zero in on right where the exact location was where the gun was fired, so it gives us potential to do more investigative work," said Chief Mooney on Wednesday.

Chief Mooney says the license plate reader technology will help with more than just crime. It can also help, for instance, in missing persons cases.

"It's a whole network. We can share with any other agency or municipality that has the license plate reader technology also," added the Chief.

Police are also asking homeowners and business owners who have security cameras to register them with the department.

"We have a crime that occurs somewhere in the vicinity of where that camera is located, we would contact them after the fact to see if we can review their footage," said Chief Mooney.

The program is free, and the department says the information about the cameras and participants is confidential. You can register your camera by clicking here .

Chief Mooney says the key to the Real Time Crime Center is data collection that will help officers get the information they need to respond faster and more efficiently.

"The more data you can collect, the more opportunity to have to analyze what’s going on and to do that predictive part of the policing and the really targeted patrolling," she said.