As the Baltimore Police Department prepares to launch its new pilot program “Aerial Investigation Research”, issues are being raised about public privacy. To ease public concerns, Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison invites the public to attend a Public Education Presentation.
The pilot program is aimed at solving criminal cases that involve shootings, armed robberies, carjackings, and homicides. The technology relies on three surveillance planes, which will fly over Baltimore City simultaneously, in an attempt to crackdown on violent crime.
Each plane will collect images of the city during hours which are known to experience high crime. The technology was developed by Persistent Surveillance Systems (PSS) based out of Ohio. The collected data will be analyzed by investigators and utilized to solve specific crimes when possible.
Harrison recently made it clear that the police will not have access to “live feeds”.
The Wall Street Journal reported on August 3, 2019, PSS utilized technology, a single plane carrying 12 cameras, to survey specific areas in West Baltimore over a three-month period in 2016. The system reportedly captured 23 shootings, with five of them described as “fatal”. An investigator could utilize the technology combined with city-based surveillance cameras to solve “past” criminal cases.
Baltimore is the first city in the US to experiment with the new controversial technology.