KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knoxville City Council made a big decision Tuesday night concerning violent crime in Knoxville.
Council members passed a resolution that would allow the mayor to enter a contract with architecture and design company McCarty Holsaple McCarty to create the design for a real-time crime center at the Knoxville Public Safety Complex. This allows the city to place cameras at various points around Knoxville to help fight crime.
Knoxville Police Chief Paul Noel says the center will be utilized after an incident has already occurred.
“The way we would use it, an incident occurs and you know ideally we would capture that incident on camera but all more than likely what happens is we’ll be able to get a video of the person going to the crime or fleeing the scene, which aids us in our investigation in an effort to ultimately solve the crime. That’s the way it’s primarily used. There are incidents where if a call for service comes out our analysis at the real-time crime center would start, you know, using those cameras to look to see if they can add the officers in the field,” said Noel.
Noel says this shouldn’t be thought of as a government overreach, but as a way to keep communities safer.
Council member Amelia Parker says she wants to see the city do more research before designs for the center are drawn up. She went on to say there is evidence of other cities having similar systems in place that don’t work.
“We need a much more thorough conversation as a city about what type of investment this could be for our city on an annual basis and how effective is this technology. I have concerns and I feel like we’re moving full steam ahead without getting that information,” said Parker.
Parker is also concerned about the price of the project, which the city says will be $89,000.
“This is not a done deal. We need to hear from the public. If you have thoughts or opinions in favor of or against a real-time crime center or a real robust surveillance program being run by the city, contact your local elected representative,” said Parker.
Noel says that while this real-time crime center can be used for any kind of crime, the main focus will be violent crimes. He added while there are no specifics yet on the locations of the cameras, he plans to work with the community to find the best places for the cameras.
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