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Bowser Announces Real Time Crime Center

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) and DC Chief of Police Pamela Smith announced the expected 2024 launch of the Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) on Thursday, Dec. 7. The announcement was made at the Marion Barry Building (441 Fourth St. SW), the site planned to host the RTCC, a new space for a city-wide collaboration to curb crime. 

Bowser explained the center will allow police to monitor live CCTV cameras around the city, as well as other technology and emergency calls. The aim of the RTCC is to provide for faster, more efficient responses to crime and will be staffed 24/7. Bowser looks to use the RTCC to send a message deterring criminals. “You’re going to be on camera, you’re going to get caught,” she said. 

Bowser was joined by members of several DC region police departments including: Amtrak Police, Arlington County Police, United States Capitol Police, Fairfax County Police, Metro Transit Police, Montgomery County Police, Prince George’s County Police and the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division.

The center aims to foster the collaboration of many local and regional police departments. On the federal level, the RTCC will be partnered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the United States Marshal Service. 

Chief Smith noted that there are other similar crime centers across the country. In preparation for the creation of DC’s RTCC, Smith met with and studied police departments in New York and New Jersey.

The District already has around 300 of these cameras and Bowser announced plans over the summer to double the number off CCTV cameras over the next two years. Smith didn’t directly address privacy concerns about increased CCTV surveillance through the RTCC, but ensured the federal team would work on the issue in the future.

When asked if the RTCC would take away funds from programs helping lower-income residents, Bowser stated, “I do want to emphasize who’s most impacted by rising crime, and that’s people of lower incomes in neighborhoods that have been impacted by crime for decades, in large part. So the things that we do to make the city safer will by and large, have the most beneficial impact on people in lower income neighborhoods.”

The center’s creation is one of many new programs created by Bowser and Smith that aim to curve rising crime in DC. Smith also referred to her launch of ATLAS (Action Teams Leaving Areas Safer), which she claimed will “increase our visibility and presence across the district to address crimes each day.” 

Theo Weller is an intern for Capital Community News. He can be reached at theo@hillrag.com.

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