Richmond to exponentially increase number of public safety cameras in city

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Richmond to exponentially increase number of public safety cameras in city
Richmond police Chief Bisa French addresses City Council on Tuesday.

Richmond will soon add 70 Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) cameras to the 30 that currently operate in the city, and will also install 40 Pan-Zoom-Tilt cameras at intersections known as hot-spots for illegal dumping.

The Richmond City Council approved the contract amendment with Flock Group, Inc. at its regular meeting Tuesday.

Flock Group, Inc. installed the initial 30 ALPR cameras earlier this year at 16 city hot spots. The cameras don’t record people, but rather the license plates of passing vehicles. The system alerts police in cases when a license plate signals that the vehicle was reported stolen or involved in a crime. Richmond police Chief Bisa French reported the ALPR cameras have been highly effective.

The 70 new ALPR cameras will be installed in more high-crime/high-traffic geographic locations, including those currently served by the city’s CCTV cameras, which have now reached their end of life, police said.

The incoming Flock Condor Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) stationary (non-moveable) cameras reportedly offer more comprehensive range of capabilities than the ALPR cameras, including live video, recording and remote pan-tilt-zoom, making them ideal for use in open areas and for enhanced investigative purposes, police said.

“They can monitor traffic, identify suspects, and gather evidence for investigations,” police said.

The contract amendment for the new cameras will cost about $750,000, increasing the contract with Flock Group, Inc. to $998,100.

Richmond City Council approved the contract amendment unanimously, and directed staff to launch a public outreach campaign to educate the public on the new cameras.