#SaferShreveport initiative ends with news conference on Real Time Crime Center

On Monday, Aug. 23, 2021, Shreveport city leaders held their final #SaferShreveport news...
On Monday, Aug. 23, 2021, Shreveport city leaders held their final #SaferShreveport news conference to announce progress on the city's new Real Time Crime Center.(KSLA)
Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 10:23 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 23, 2021 at 11:05 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — The City of Shreveport held its final news conference for its #SaferShreveport initiative on Monday, Aug. 23.

This week’s conference focused on the Real Time Crime Center coming to Shreveport. It’s something city leaders hope will help to address crime in the area. In April, Mayor Adrian Perkins toured similar facilities in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

During the news conference, the manager of the Real Time Crime Center was announced. This comes on the heels of a particularly violent weekend in Shreveport during which a man was shot to death at West 70th Street at Linwood Avenue and a woman was found dead in the back seat of a car less than two miles away at East 70th Street at Gilbert Drive. Also over the weekend, an elderly woman was stabbed in her face and elsewhere on her head on Abilene Street.

“The crime this past weekend was absolutely unacceptable,” the mayor said. “Too many of our grandparents, parents and siblings in this city are having to bury their loved ones for senseless acts of violence.

“The Real Time Crime Center will save our officers countless hours doing investigative work. It will help solve crimes faster and make our community safer.”

The Real Time Crime Center is essentially a network of cameras that multiple city agencies will be able to access to respond to emergencies. The center will also allow police, fire, EMS and the community to all communicate easily.

“I’m very excited to have additional eyes on the street in the near future,” Police Chief Ben Raymond said. “This is not a program we are trying to hide. We are not trying to sneak cameras into the community.

“We want the criminals to be on notice that we are watching what you are doing,” he continued. “We are going to watch those main corridors that you travel, we are going to pay attention to those areas that are crime hot spots and we will use the technology that is available to us to put those people in jail that continue to wreak havoc on our community.

“We have had enough and we are looking forward to using a technological piece to assist our officers in the hard work they do day in and day out.”

Earlier this year, city officials visited Real Time Crime Centers in Baton Rouge and New Orleans to look at how their programs work.

“When we visited, I got a taste of what this could be like,” said Keith Hanson, the city’s chief technology officer. “They explained to me this is basically a help desk for first responders, and that helped me understand what this could be.

“The Real Time Crime Center is a 24/7 operation,” he explained. “It will allow us to bring in camera feeds everywhere from HOAs, to businesses, to cameras on poles. Even the DOTD camera streams on our highways.

“All of these things will be put into our Real Time Crime Center software, and those feeds will all be available for roughly 30 days for analysis,” Hanson continued. “We have designed our own decentralized cameras that will go on poles, signal arms, different things like that, that will help secure our community and offer valuable evidence to prosecutors and patrol officers.”

He stressed that analysts working in the Real Time Crime Center would not be watching regular citizen activity or keep tabs on everyday citizens.

“They are there to respond in coordination with Caddo 911, with Caddo 911 taking those emergency calls and at the request of police officers and first responders,” Hanson said. “We will be supporting numerous other departments in the city, not just first responders. Chemical dumping, flood detection and, later down the road, shot detection and weather monitoring. This is a multi-effort here across the spectrum of things we can do with the Real Time Crime Center.”

Officials say they hope the program will be a bridge between the community and law enforcement. They also hope that neighborhood HOAs and local businesses will want to volunteer their cameras to aid first responders. Any community members interested in having their surveillance cameras be a part of the Real Time Crime Center can register their information on the city’s website by clicking here.

Hanson said the Real Time Crime Center, when fully staffed and operational, will cost the city $500,000 annually. The startup cost has been around $300,000.

At the moment, they have 12 people hired to work the Real Time Crime Center, two per shift with a two-hour overlap between shifts.

Hanson hopes other agencies will want to get involved in the future.

Officials say the Real Time Crime Center, located in Government Plaza, is expected to be fully operational next month.

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