INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis city leaders unveiled additional technology Thursday aimed at fighting crime across the city.
The city used to have one mobile camera units, but has now bought six more. The trailers can be quickly deployed to hot spots and large gatherings to deter crime and hold offenders accountable if violence does happen.
For example, over two consecutive weekends, a series of shootings in Broad Ripple wounded a half dozen people.
To help combat that violence, mobile public safety cameras have been parked in the entertainment district.
“These devices are truly game changers and force multipliers for policing,” said IMPD commander Matt Thomas.
Commander Thomas says each mobile camera can feed back video in real time to the incident analysis center.
The IAC is staffed with detectives and analysts during specific hours of events and crime prevention operations. IMPD hopes to increase the team of analysts over the next year to provide 24/7 staffing. Once the video is streamed to the IAC, it is then retained for 30 days, unless there is a specific investigative reason to keep it longer.
The mobile cameras are part of a larger 9 million dollar technology upgrade.
“It’s important to recognize this is one piece of the overall strategy. This is a layered strategy,” said Thomas.
“This expansion allows the department to stay adaptable to where and when violence occurs. Once trends are identified by our community members, analysts, and officers, IMPD can deploy a mobile trailer, providing IMPD with extra resources in a specific area,” said Assistant Chief Chris Bailey.
In fact, the mobile units are part of a growing network of cameras.
The city has already installed 70 license plate readers around town with plans for a total of more than 200.
That’s coupled with nearly 300 fixed location public safety cameras.
“This network allows officers to efficiently and transparently gather evidence,” said mayor Joe Hogsett.
Mayor Hogsett points out the increased investment in technology coincides with a decrease in homicides this year compared to last year, although there is still work to be done to return to the numbers seen prior to 2020.
“As I always say, while the number of homicides is anywhere above zero, there can be no celebrating,” said Hogsett.
In less than two weeks the city will also launch a new gunshot detection system with three vendors. That pilot program will run until October.
In addition to the seven mobile cameras the city now has, city leaders also plan to purchase four more units.
The funding comes from grants including Project Safe Neighborhoods, Smart Policing Initiative, and the American Rescue Plan Act. Each camera costs nearly $74,000. IMPD plans to purchase four more trailers within a year.
Mayor Hogsett announced a comprehensive violence reduction plan in fall 2021, powered by $150 million in American Rescue Plan funds unanimously approved by the City-County Council. The plan emphasizes law enforcement investments, including $9 million in modern policing technology, 100 new IMPD officer positions, and up to 40 IMPD civilian positions to cover non-emergencies.
It also addresses root causes of violence through $45 million for grassroots violence prevention organizations, 50 peacemakers to engage with those at risk of becoming perpetrators or victims of gun violence, $30 million for mental health resources, and more.