Technology Connecting Downtown Cameras Could Help Aid Tulsa Police

Wednesday, September 14th 2016, 7:02 pm
By: Emory Bryan

An idea is being examined that might help Tulsa police solve crimes by tapping into private security cameras downtown.

It could help them track down criminals.

There are thousands of cameras downtown, some city-owned, most in or outside private businesses, but there's a way to connect all those systems to the police.

The affordability of low-cost, high-quality cameras has encouraged the spread of surveillance systems.      

Cameras are watching over almost everything but when something happens, the police don't know if a camera caught anything.

An emerging technology can help police quickly locate footage and the system would cost about $20,000 a year.

Mark Hogan is the City of Tulsa Asset Management Department Director.

"If you have an incident that happens downtown, the ability for the police to get video of that incident is extremely important,” Hogan said. “First we need to know it exists, and then we need to be able to get it."

The idea came to the Downtown Coordinating Council – a group of business interests who would have to buy into the idea.

9/14/2016 Related Story: Tulsa's Downtown Coordinating Council To Vote On Security Camera Network

The system relies on agreements to find and share video if it's available, just for the asking.

It essentially crowd sources the effort to check the video to the owners of the cameras near a crime.

“There's a good chance that a camera saw that incident happen,” Hogan said.

But if TPD doesn't know there's a camera there, they don't know there's an electronic witness to that incident.

The City of Tulsa alone has 2,000 cameras around the city, but no one for now, has a count, or a map, showing all the others.

In Fort Worth, individuals can register their home cameras with police; this system would go further with a more automatic system to alert businesses to check cameras and feed the video to police.