- Police in Hartford, CT will begin using drones to chase fleeing suspects and stolen vehicles, according to the Hartford Courant.
- The city's expanded surveillance program will also involve adding up to 150 new cameras in public places to its existing network of more than 700 cameras. About 50 new cameras will be placed on citizens' homes and will link to the city's surveillance network.
- New software will aid the department's data collection efforts by analyzing crime and traffic patterns.
About $2.5 million in state funds will go toward the expanded crime fighting program. Right now no rollout date exists for drone use because city leaders still need to develop policies for using them.
In addition to using the drones to follow crime suspects, police will use them to monitor events such as festivals and races. Deploying drones means police no longer need to engage in high speed chases themselves, which will also increase safety. Many municipalities already do not allow police to engage in high speed chases, regardless of the alleged crime, because of the potential danger to officers and the public.
The cameras installed on citizens's homes will boost neighborhood safety by allowing police to see activity on smaller streets. They are viewed as a way to both solve and deter crimes. Some residents reportedly have already volunteered to have cameras installed on their homes.
The drones, cameras and software upgrade are part of the Hartford Police Department's plan to boost its data collection and crime fighting abilities. Last year, the department opened its Real-Time Crime and Data Intelligence Center which brings together new technology with data and crime analysts. The department reports that its efforts have already helped to keep them on top of situations unfolding in the Hartford and in mapping crimes to facilitate more efficient arrests. The police department also will be able to adapt and expand the center and the technology to meet future needs.