Hartford police use more than 200 Department of Public Works cameras to catch criminals and soon they'll have 500 eyes on the streets, controlled from a "real-time crime center."
Sgt. Johnmichael O'Hare supervises special operations there. He showed off some of the fruits of the efforts of police and civilian analysts Wednesday afternoon.
For example, a pattern of burglaries in Hartford and Bloomfield plotted on electronic maps generated predictive analysis and led to an arrest.
The center has radio access to all officers in the field so it can send them pictures and records. O'Hare said, "With all this, we are no longer fishing with a net. We're fishing with a spear."
Police said all the gear doesn't cost that much, and the money comes from federal government grants and criminal asset forfeiture money.
"Taking from criminals to be used against future criminals," said Chief James Rovella, "and to protect my public!
O'Hare told of confronting a suspect with video evidence of his crime and winning a confession just 35 minutes after the event.
"It's gonna be awesome!" said Hyacinth Yennie, a citizen looking over the array of screens. She is sure the public will appreciate the surveillance.
"I think they're gonna love the fact that they know that Big Brother's watching them, OK? You don't got much privacy any more and that's ok - if it keeps us safe that's fine," she said.
Besides the camera system, the Shotspotter sound detector system is expanding. By April it'll cover more than eleven more square miles of Hartford so police can go right to where shots are fired.