The City of Hollywood is embarking on a major program to update its technology in the fight against crime.
The Hollywood Police Department is in the initial phases of a $1.5 million CCTV camera program. The City will install 12 CCTVs along North Beach, 26 CCTVs along Federal Highway and four in the downtown section. Eventually there will be six more phases of the CCTV camera program in the western sections of Hollywood. There are now two CCTVs in use. The other cameras will be installed as soon as the permitting process is complete.
Also Hollywood is utilizing license plate readers throughout the city. There are 14 license plate readers in use now. The license plate readers will allow police to see vehicles entering the city that have been involved in illegal activity. For example, if a car has been reported stolen, the license plate reader will be able to show police that the stolen car has entered Hollywood. If the car of a person wanted for a crime enters Hollywood, police will be notified when the car enters the city. If a car driven by person who is not to be near a school is considered too close to a school the license plate reader will pick that up.
The CCTV cameras will show police what is taking place in certain areas of the city. For example, if an armed robbery occurs at a gas station, the camera will show police that a crime has occurred. If the robber leaves the scene in a car, the license plate reader will pick up the license plate of the thief as he or she escapes the area and police can be dispatched to pursue the vehicle.
“Each camera is a force multiplier and is the equivalent of ten police officers,” said Chief Frank Fernandez. “We are setting up a geofence around the outer perimeter of the city. The criminals know that if they are entering Hollywood, we will capture their license plate and that information becomes an investigative tool for our detectives. We are averaging about three to four arrests a day involving stolen cars, robberies, burglaries and other violent crimes since we started this program. It provides more eyes for our officers. One officer can view ten cameras at a time.”
Information collected from the CCTVs and license plate readers is fed into the crime intelligence center at police headquarters. There are 24 televisions inside the center that can be monitored by three officers. And this system allows the police to track crime trends in Hollywood and predict where future criminal activity may occur.
“This is a force multiplier. I believe it is good for the residents and business owners of Hollywood because it reduces crime,” said Detective Daniel Justus.