San Diego police tout success of streetlight surveillance cameras

The San Diego Police Department has begun installing and using Smart Streetlight cameras and Automated License Plate Recognition technologies, and they have already assisted in solving crimes.

“Having our Smart Streetlight and ALPR technology is already making our city safer, with examples just in the first two months of operating that show their ability to help police locate and apprehend dangerous suspects more efficiently and with greater certainty,” Mayor Todd Gloria said. “With the level of transparency and accountability for the use of the technologies we have in place, we’re enhancing San Diegans’ safety while protecting their right to privacy.”

SDPD’s five-year agreement with Ubicquia Inc. and Flock Safety’s ALPR technology, included the installation and maintenance of an initial 500 locations citywide. Since late December, more than 100 of the 500 cameras have been installed, with new installations occurring almost daily, according to SDPD’s Ashley Nicholes.

“The San Diego Police Department already produces clearance rates for solving crimes above the national average,” SDPD Chief David Nisleit said. “Instead of casting a large net based on sometimes vague descriptions, the Smart Streetlight cameras and ALPR system now allow officers to be laser- focused on who committed the crime. This investment is precision, intelligence- led policing at its finest and will deliver results.”

The cameras and ALPR can only operate in conjunction with an LED streetlight. If an LED streetlight is already in place, the technology can be easily connected to the streetlight without modification. If a designated location is not LED-equipped, SDPD works with the city’s Transportation Department to replace it with an LED light, Nicholes said.
Installation of all 500 cameras is anticipated by June, weather and other infrastructure issues permitting.

“We’re honoured to partner with the City of San Diego and Ubicquia on this groundbreaking deployment of public safety technology,” said Garrett Langley, CEO and Founder of Flock Safety. “Every city is different, but all need public safety solutions that align with the character and citizens of their community. This new method of positioning LPR and video security technology through the UbiHub streetlight technology shows that Flock Safety is committed to constant innovation to serve every community.”

Once the cameras are installed, SDPD’s Special Projects and Legislative Affairs Unit individually reviews each camera’s viewpoint to digitally mask private property, so it is not recorded by the cameras before they are fully operational, Nicholes said. SDPD is working to provide training opportunities to officers and investigators to ensure they understand the responsibilities of access to the system.

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