RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond City Council has approved a $750,000 grant for a real-time crime center (RTCC).
The city is hoping that a real-time crime center would help the Richmond Police Department respond to crimes more efficiently.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney mentioned the RTCC in his State of the City address in late January. Stoney said that Gov. Glenn Youngkin assisted in making this possible.
“Between the Police Department, Fire Department, and Department of Emergency Communications, we invested over $177 million to public safety in Fiscal Year 2023,” Stoney said. “But, our police department — like departments across the country — is still short on officers, meaning our police department must work strategically to keep us safe.”
City Council approved the grant on Monday from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services.
“Think of this as an air traffic control for officers in the field,” Stoney said. “Using cameras and other modern technology, real-time crime centers have the ability to maximize the efficiency and speed of investigations.”
According to the city, Richmond Police will be able to use different technologies for policing. Technologies like security cameras, license plate reader cameras and shot detection allow law enforcement agencies to respond more deliberately with improved operational intelligence.
During the mayor’s State of the City address, he mentioned Birmingham, Alabama as an example for a city that has seen an improvement in crime prevention since implementing a RTCC. Stoney said Birmingham law enforcement were able to solve 150 cases in the first six months.
“From Las Vegas to Miami, real-time crime centers are a force multiplier,” Stoney said. “I told you all, when it comes to public safety, we’re going to throw the entire kitchen sink at it. This is what the kitchen sink looks like.”
The Virginia Department of Health tracks firearm injuries and victims. According to the department, the city has seen shootings increase since 2019. The likeliest victims of gun-related incidents are Black males between the ages of 25-34. In 2021, Mayor Stoney declared gun violence a public health crisis.
Richmond Police will undergo a free IT assessment to understand what technology is needed at the department to support a real-time crime center. The city will be buying software to combine all city-owned cameras into one system. The system purchase used $445,200 American Rescue Plan Act funds. Cameras are currently being integrated into the program.
It’s still unclear where the center will be specifically.
At this time, the city said implementation of the RTCC will depend upon the timeline and recommendations proposed by the IT assessment.