JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The city of Jackson held a ribbon-cutting on Thursday for its new Real-Time Crime Center.
Leaders discussed the new center at a ceremony at the center on Riverside Drive.
Leaders touted the center as a new tool the city can use to respond to crime and in some instances prevent crime.
“It’s an asset that we’re proud, as a city, to be able to pull the resources together for,” said Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba. “It’s a collective effort of various departments within the city.”
The center will essentially give the Jackson Police Department (JPD) a another set of eyes, even as it deals with a police shortage.
Through the center, the city will be able to access business and community surveillance cameras, as well as cameras the city already has set up in the city.
Jackson Police Chief James Davis said the city received a grant to install cameras in South Jackson, in an area he described as a crime “hot spot.”
Since those cameras were put in, the chief said criminal activity has dropped 51 percent.
So far, the system has access to about 600 cameras, both public and private.
Davis said recording devices can only be accessed if the city receives written consent from the owners, and that the center would not violate individuals’ privacy.
The center also will not use facial recognition technology.
“This is not an effort to invade people’s privacy, nor is it an effort to take advantage of people’s reasonable expectation of privacy,” Lumumba said. “But if you commit a crime in the middle of Capitol Street, you didn’t intend for it to be private.”
The center is located on Riverside Drive. It is housed in a building donated to Jackson by the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration.
A total cost for the project was not immediately available. Lumumba said the facility was funded through numerous grants and other sources.
“It’s a great investigation tool we can speedily use to solve crimes,” Davis said.
The center will allow for video sharing, cell phone video sharing and live video sharing.
It will be able to aid the city not only in instances of crime, but in instances of severe weather, when Amber Alerts and Silver Alerts are issued, and the like.
“It’s an opportunity to better observe and fill in the gaps,” the mayor said. “We know that we need more law enforcement officers. That’s why we are continuing to have recruiting efforts take place. (But) while we have the gaps, we have to become smarter as it pertains to crime.”