Portsmouth Police are adopting new technology to tackle crime

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Police will install a system that streamlines their access to CCTV cameras in Portsmouth. The executives also want to buy gunshot detection software.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Portsmouth law enforcement is looking to fight crime with new technologies.

The police are installing a system that would streamline their access to surveillance cameras in the city. The leaders also want to integrate gunshot detection software.

Over 400 cameras owned by the City of Portsmouth are for use in CCTV, traffic or security. More cameras are probably on the way.

In a presentation to city council members on Wednesday night, acting police chief Stephen Jenkins said a new system called Fusus will integrate all of those video feeds into a single network.

“To use this real-time data, to put us in the best position to be successful and also to improve our situational awareness when it comes to fighting crime,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said Fusus has already been purchased. It costs $125,000 for an annual subscription.

“Technology is a force multiplier for us,” he added.

There are also plans to create a “real-time crime center”. Jenkins said talks are still ongoing about whether employees, volunteers or a combination of the two will be part of it.

“This [real-time crime center] is going to be the focal point of all the videos, the camera feeds that will come into the city,” Jenkins said.

At the same time, the police are expanding their outreach activities even further to the community. Indeed, partners, such as housing complexes, businesses and schools, can allow the city to access their respective monitoring feeds as part of the Fusus platform.

“It’s a voluntary system,” Jenkins said.

The chef also mentioned that Fusus has proven itself in other areas, such as Atlanta.

Jenkins said it was all done in an effort to deter crime.

“To say Portsmouth is not the place to come and commit crimes,” he said.

During the same board presentation on Wednesday, Jenkins also reviewed two gunshot detection software under consideration. He described the advantages of ShotSpotter and Flock.

ShotSpotter is already in use in two Hampton Roads towns; Virginia Beach and Newport News. Several other locations in the seven cities are expected to roll out with a Flock installation, according to Jenkins’ presentation.

COST BREAKDOWN OF SHOT DETECTION SYSTEMS

  • $245,000/year with $45,000 one-time setup fee
  • Recurring costs would be $245,000 with discounts for multi-year contracts
  • $185,000/year with $350 one-time setup fee
  • Recurring costs would be $90,000 with no discount for a multi-year contract

Additionally, Flock offers a license plate reader system, which is also under consideration.

Additionally, Jenkins told 13News Now that the distribution of free doorbell cameras is already underway. Applicants selected through a lottery system do not have to register their cameras with the city, but are strongly encouraged to do so.

“Everyone has a part to play and a role to play,” said Darrell Redmond, a local anti-violence activist and founder of the nonprofit Give Back 2 Da Block.

He expressed that he likes technology initiatives; however, he said he wanted to see city leaders focus more on other available strategies.

“I believe in intervention and prevention, doing things that we don’t need to use a camera by involving grassroots organizations,” Redmond said.

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