St. Louis, MO ~ St. Louis, MO - In a joint effort between Mayor Tishaura O. Jones and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD), the first annual comprehensive report on the use of surveillance technology was released today. The report highlights the positive impact of surveillance technology in addressing violent crime, particularly shooting incidents, while also emphasizing the importance of strong policies to protect civil liberties.

Mayor Jones expressed her satisfaction with the release of the report, stating that it demonstrates her administration's commitment to transparency and responsiveness to community concerns regarding surveillance technology. "Publishing this report helps the St. Louis community see that their voices have been heard and their calls for increased transparency have been acted upon," she said.

The report reveals that in 2023, St. Louis saw a 21 percent decrease in homicides and a 22 percent decrease in overall part one crimes. This success is attributed to the Mayor's public safety approach, which focuses on prevention, intervention, and enforcement. Surveillance technology has played a crucial role in this approach by aiding law enforcement in quickly responding to crime scenes and providing valuable investigative tools for bringing justice to victims.

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To ensure transparency in the use of surveillance technology, Mayor Jones issued Executive Order 78 on February 23rd. This order requires SLMPD to provide a detailed report on their use of surveillance technology prior to their budget hearing with the Board of Aldermen on May 16th.

The Executive Order outlines specific information that must be included in the report, such as how the technology is used, if it utilizes artificial intelligence, how many units are used by the city, how its effectiveness is measured, and how it is funded and requested. Additionally, any complaints against police for using specific technology must be disclosed along with any partnerships involved in its use.

Policies related to surveillance technology can be found on SLMPD's website and have been available since late February. One notable example is ShotSpotter, now known as SoundThinking, which operates in only 10 percent of the city's total land area. This technology has proven to be effective in collecting shell casings at shooting and assault scenes, even without a 911 call being made. Camera data is retained for 30 days and license plate reader data is retained for 90 days.

Overall, the report highlights the positive impact of surveillance technology in addressing violent crime while also emphasizing the importance of transparency and strong policies to protect civil liberties. With this information now available to the public, Mayor Jones and SLMPD hope to continue building trust with the community and working towards a safer St. Louis.

Filed Under: Government, City

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