Camera system helps Atlanta police make major arrests

Police chiefs say they need to help the public expand a citywide camera surveillance program.

Atlanta – Atlanta leaders are asking the community to allow them to take advantage of home and business security cameras to help them better tackle crime.

On Tuesday, the Atlanta Police Department highlighted the success of its latest technology, Connect Atlanta, while urging the public to help them expand the surveillance system through personal camera recording.

“Today we come to you to talk about what really is the neighborhood clock in the 21st century, as technology and our Ring cameras are used to solve crimes and help our most vulnerable citizens of Atlanta,” said Interim Police Chief Darren Sherbaum.

Officials say Connect Atlanta, a network of more than 5,700 integrated cameras and 3,000 registered cameras, has been essential in tackling crime since its inception in January. Chief Sherbaum highlighted three recent cases in which the system was critical to finding or apprehending someone.

One involved locating an Alzheimer’s patient within hours after her family reported her missing in May. The other two included arrests within days for two fatal shootings, one of which was the shooting of six-month-old Grayson Fleming Gray – in which police say cameras helped them track down Dickow’s Little within 24 hours.

“If it wasn’t for the cameras — all we were going to get out and do was collect the shell casings and we wouldn’t really have proof of what happened. So the video cameras enabled us to identify everyone,” said Atlanta Police Major Michael O’Connor.

Officials said the majority of the recorded cameras include home surveillance systems such as Ring door cameras and integrated cameras that could become part of the city’s live cam network — most of which are currently city- or business-owned. The difference between the two, they said, is that footage from recorded cameras is voluntarily abandoned.

“Once they commit a crime — they can circle this location and say ‘Hey, we had an accident at this location — can you check that time frame on your Ring camera or home security camera to see if you have any footage? “…and so then they share that with us. That’s the only involvement – we don’t spy on their cameras at all,” said Vice President Charles Hampton Jr.

Officials say Connect Atlanta allows officers to take screenshots on their cell phones from inside their vehicles before they reach the scene, as well as locate other officers and first responders.

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