As part of a new crime-fighting initiative, Boston police now have the ability to witness shootings, robberies, and even homicides on many city streets from computer screens at headquarters and then distribute crucial information about the suspects and the crimes to officers heading to the scene, reports the Boston Globe. The program uses existing technology such as cameras focused on major streets, a gunshot detection system, and the 911 dispatch center to relay information about a crime almost instantaneously to investigators.
The $500,000 intelligence hub, known as the Real Time Crime Center, is the latest in the department's efforts to combine shoe-leather police work with technological savvy to monitor and thwart criminals. “This is going to be the real nerve cell of operations in the city,'' Commissioner Edward F. Davis said, standing in the center, a roughly 10-by-12-foot room that until recently had been an office foyer. Boston is one of a handful of cities nationwide that have developed such a center, the first of which was launched in New York in 2005. Since then, police departments in Houston and Memphis have opened their own centers.