Bloomberg donates $5 million to Baltimore Police for new cameras, technology

Bloomberg Philanthropies is donating $5 million to help the Baltimore Police Department enhance crime-fighting technology — including buying more surveillance cameras, gun-shot detection software and license plate readers. The grant money will go to purchase 60 new Citiwatch surveillance cameras, 25 new mobile license plate readers and gunshot detection software to cover 10 miles of East and West Baltimore, city officials said.

The 60 new surveillance cameras will be installed on light poles, expanding upon the city’s system of 750 fixed cameras.

City officials are currently deciding where to place the new cameras by comparing maps of where the most crime occurs with maps of the camera system. The 25 additional mobile license plate readers will be installed on patrol cars, enabling real-time alerts and capturing investigative data, city officials said. This technology helps identify stolen cars and other vehicles of interest.

The gunshot-detection software will cover 10 square miles and expand upon an existing pilot program with the state. The software helps police quickly respond to shootings before 911 is called and alerts police to gunshots that they otherwise wouldn’t have known about.
Baltimore police had balked at buying gunshot-detection software in 2008, calling the technology unreliable.