FRESNO, California. (KGPE) – The Real Time Crime Center is back in operation at Fresno Police headquarters, serving as an extension of the department’s Dispatch Communications Center.
It was originally started in 2015, but it’s been closed for about two years because of budget and staffing issues.
Dispatchers at the Real Time Crime Center monitor live camera feeds, providing an extra set of eyes for officers patrolling downtown Fresno, many of whom are on bicycles.
“A lot of times it’s an officer safety issue when an officer is going to call they don’t know what’s there, they don’t know what to expect, they don’t know what they’re going to encounter, and our tactical dispatchers can give them that information, can give them suspect information, vehicle information before they ever get there,” said Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama.
The Real Time Crime Center has eight operating booths, but only 3 people working there so far due to a staffing shortage.
Those dispatchers are watching 21 working cameras set up throughout the downtown area, and there are about a dozen more that the department is hoping to fix.
“We have it in our budget to upgrade that, to fix the cameras that are down, and also to upgrade some software,” said Balderrama. “So we’re very hopeful that this will get passed in the budget so we can reduce some of the crime in the downtown areas.”
At a press conference Wednesday, Chief Balderrama said this technology is much-needed for downtown Fresno, which has seen an increase in burglaries, sex offenses, and auto thefts compared to last year, although he said many of those crimes still go unreported.
“The reason that people under-report is just the fact that they think that number one, we’re not going to respond, and if we do, nothing’s going to happen,” said Balderrama. “So we have to be a little bit more proactive to show the public that we are going to be there, we’re going to get there quickly, and we’re going to help them, and once they see us engaging a little bit more, they’ll call us.”