By Carol Robinson
October 19, 2023
Birmingham police Chief Scott Thurmond said the department's Real Time Crime Center is helping to solve crimes, and more technology is on the way.
Police and city officials two years ago today unveiled the department’s $3 million Real Time Crime Center, which features all-seeing live technology nestled in a hub on the fourth floor of police headquarters.
The $3 million center was unveiled Oct. 19, 2021. As of today, according to police, the center has had success in more than 1,000 cases that have included recovered stolen vehicles and guns, felony arrests and finding missing people.
Some of those statistics include:
- Assisted officers on a scene – 340
- Provided vehicle information in investigations – 283
- Provided suspect information in investigations – 385
- Recovered vehicles – 214
- Recovered property – 74
- Recovered guns – 88
- Recovered drugs – 19
- Provided case information – 294
- Located missing person – 15
- Led to arrest – 315
- Assisted other agencies - 44
“Our crime center is one of the leading crime centers that actually assists our officers in real time, during the initial investigation,’’ said Officer Truman Fitzgerald. “Before, most of your crime centers have been an asset after the call or after the case has already begun.”
“What our officers are seeing in the streets, the officers in the crime center are seeing the exact same thing if not a lot more,’’ he said.
The center uses real-time technology as well as data-driven intelligence to increase prevention, apprehension and resolution of crime.
The state-of-the art facility was modeled after best practices of those elsewhere, such as Chicago, Detroit and New York City – all centers visited by Birmingham officials.
When the center opened, police officials touted the technology, which included automated license plate readers - high-speed, computer-controlled camera systems that are typically mounted on utility poles, streetlights, highway overpasses, mobile trailers, or attached to squad cars. ALPRs capture all license plate numbers that come into view, along with the location, date, and time
The data, which includes photographs of the vehicle and sometimes its driver and passengers, is then uploaded to a central server.
The readers help in every level of crime from stolen vehicles to tracking violent suspects.
Another feature at the time the center opened was new body worn camera technology that allows officers working the crime center to remotely turn on and off body worn cameras.