CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team went to the top to ask about chronic breakdowns in a hi-tech police unit to help keep your streets safe.
Again and again, we’ve shown you city security cameras not working, or no people working in the Real Time Crime Center to watch video from the cameras.
When that happens, key clues in crimes simply get lost. So, we took hard questions to the mayor.
Monday, the Cleveland mayor, the Ohio governor, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor and others announced hundreds of thousands of dollars for more technology.
So, we took the opportunity to ask how can the Real Time Crime Center be effective when so many cameras are often not working, and very often, the center is not staffed?
“Let me say a couple things,” Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb said. “Our city has done a tremendous job in scaling up the number of cameras across our city. We have a pretty high rate of cameras that are actually working.”
The mayor defends the operation and says, long-term, the city will work to get more cameras operating with the Real Time Crime Center running 24/7. We reminded him that won’t happen overnight.
“Our technology teams are doing a really good job to make sure as many cameras are working as possible,” he said.
We revealed city cameras were not working New Year’s Eve where a carjacker killed officer Shane Bartek. And, we’ve found how often nobody is working in the unit. Certainly, crime can happen at any time, but there’s no guarantee, at any given moment, someone will be working and able to help in the Real Time Crime Center.
Last year, the I-Team checked a 5-month period. We found 17 days with no one scheduled to work there And, we found some other days with somebody there just a few hours. No quick fix.
But Gov. Mike DeWine jumped in and added, “We aspire to be ‘here’ [raising his hand high], we’re ‘here’ [raising his hand lower], but that’s better than being ‘here’ [raising his hand even lower] and having nothing.”
As for the new technology, the city has been awarded a state grant of $355,400 for the Real Time Crime Center. The city plans to use that for license plate readers to help spot wanted suspects. And, the city is exploring the use of drones.