Newark Mayor Cory Booker and his beleaguered police force hope a new video surveillance system called Community Eye is a glimpse of the future of law enforcement in the city, which remains shaken by the execution-style murders of three college students 11 days ago, the Newark Star-Ledger reports. The project will marry audio gunshot-detection technology with a series of remote-control public surveillance cameras into a network that police believe will help them solve and prevent crimes — most notably the rampant gun violence plaguing New Jersey’s largest city.
The technology has been used to reduce crime in East Orange and other places around the nation. Police Director Garry McCarthy said, “I kind of feel like a kid on Christmas morning.” The heart of the program — one Booker said will put Newark “on the cutting edge of crime prevention” — is that cameras will be placed into a wireless network that is connected with gunshot-detection sensors. The sensors “hear” gunfire, which they can distinguish from other noises like cars backfiring. Then, with a little bit of geometry and some help from Global Positioning System satellites, the system instantly alerts police to the exact location of the gunfire. The cameras will cover 7 square miles. While that is less than a third of the 24-square-mile city, the selected areas are where 80 percent of shootings have occurred since 2005. The system will cost $3.2 million, and the Newark Community Foundation, a recently formed nonprofit group, has pledged to raise it.