FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A new proposed budget amendment from the Fresno City Council was introduced today with the aim to crack down on retail theft. 

Fresno City Councilmember Mike Karbassi introduced Project Spotlight, a $100,000 budget amendment that would connect cameras at businesses to the Fresno Police Department’s real-time crime unit.  

“This is going to make the relationship between the police department and the small businesses even better, because instead of having to go to the business and try to get the information, they’ll have a direct link where the business can click a button, and that information gets right to the police department,” Karbassi said. 

Karbassi said this proposal would install camera connections from businesses to the police department so data could be shared instantly in the case of a crime.  He said those businesses will be marked with a green light, showing would-be thieves police are watching. 

He said that often, other shoppers call the police, but with Project Spotlight, reporting what happened is much easier, taking the burden off of the business. 

“Hopefully in a few months you’re going to see Project Spotlight in eight businesses in the entire city of Fresno and you’ll see the green beacon and you’ll know and the criminals will know their cameras have a direct link to the police department,” Karbassi said. 

He said on top of prevention, it should make the turnaround time for detectives investigating what happened shorter as well. 

The program started in Detroit a few years ago and hasn’t made its way to California yet. City councilmember Luis Chavez is also supporting Project Spotlight, following a trip he took to Detroit earlier this year.

Karbassi said in Detroit now over 500 businesses participate in their version of the program. 

“We need to make it easier for these businesses to report these crimes and provide information, but also easier for our detectives and our police department to get that information and get it to the DA so we can charge these people and get them off the streets,” he added. 

The Fresno Police Department said they could not yet comment on the proposal. 

If approved, the project would start at eight businesses, before expanding to others across the city. Karbassi said this would focus on large businesses that have been hit before as well as small local businesses.