Real Time Crime Center up and running at Birmingham PD

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 5:10 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The city of Birmingham unveiled its latest effort to bring down crime on Tuesday as the $3 million Real Time Crime Center is now up and running.

When Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith got to the city, he realized his department had to update and modernize all of their communication efforts to get out the latest information. That included video and pictures for officers on patrol throughout the city.

City leaders were all on hand for a ribbon cutting ceremony at police headquarters Tuesday afternoon.

The city did not have a way to get video from an officer’s body cam back to a central location and out to other patrols when they were called to a crime scene. The Real Time Crime Center lets them do that.

There are hopes the center will be able to tap into other crime centers across the state of Alabama about a suspect.

Chief Smith said the crime center was already paying dividends with a shooting that happened Tuesday.

“Just in the first day of operation, it is unfortunate our city suffered through a homicide today, but within five minutes, the gentlemen sitting here were able to resolve that matter. They were able to pull up the video, identify the person involved, and also give out real time information to our detectives on the scene,” Chief Smith said.

Mayor Randall Woodfin said the crime center will help them provide justice to victims of crime in the city.

Chief Smith is confident the Real Time Crime Center will help them reduce their backlog of cases and increase their clearance rate.

Smith said Birmingham should have had equipment like this before, but there was not a financial commitment to get all the tools necessary to get the center up and running. The chief says he will still need cooperation from others to ensure the center is operating at maximum efficiency.

“It’s going to take cooperation. It’s going to take cooperation from our businesses, homeowners - whoever would like to give us access to their videos so it can be used right here in the Real Time Crime Center,” Smith said.

Chief Smith said the police department will also still need people in the community to provide information about crime to bring down the city’s crime rate.

Public Safety Director Hunter Williams says the city will still have to make other financial commitments to continue to improve the department.

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