City Expanding SAFE SMART CLE Camera Sharing Program; Mayor Calls for Community Participation
Residents and business owners asked to sign up for city’s latest tech-focused public safety effort to help save lives as violence levels continue to rise
Thursday, July 6, 2023 — Cleveland — The City of Cleveland’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) is urging residents, business owners, and organizations to sign up for SAFE SMART CLE – the City’s new camera registry. Convenience stores, churches, retail shops, office buildings, and small businesses are all encouraged to participate. The program is powered by FUSUS, an award-winning technology company utilized by nearly 200 agencies across the country.
“Sadly, we continue to see unprecedented levels of violence plaguing our community. We are doing everything we possibly can to reverse these trends; however, we cannot do it alone and need help from everyone in our community,” said Mayor Justin M. Bibb. “It’s our hope, by empowering residents and businesses to be part of the solution, that we’ll be able to save more lives together.”
The access program kicked off as a pilot to support the City’s efforts hosting the NFL Draft in March 2021, with over 350 cameras integrated owned by the City of Cleveland, the NFL, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA), and other private partners. The City now operates with a current network of 1,955 cameras integrated in the program. That consists of both city-owned devices, like license plate readers or cameras affixed on street lights and traffic signals, as well as other organizations – like Cleveland State University, RTA, Steelyard Commons, Langston Commons, and Cleveland Metropolitan School District – who have already integrated their systems.
Residents have the option to register, while businesses have the options to register and integrate. Registration takes less than 60 seconds and is done through a secure online portal.
The quick three-step process takes less than a minute, is simple, and can all be completed online. By signing up, camera owners are not granting safety officials access to their devices, rather they are merely providing a way for the City’s safety officers, firefighters, and EMT personnel to identify where cameras already exist.
In the past, safety officials have had to canvass neighborhoods following an incident, often times knocking door-to-door or making multiple trips, asking residents if they even had cameras before seeking permission to access. Now, through this registration option that maps the location for those who sign up, safety officials know where the closest cameras are without even arriving on scene – saving crucial time and critical resources when responding to emergency situations. Then, if needed, safety officials can send a request for video footage electronically to the camera owner via a secure file-sharing system instead of having to show up and record it in-person – further enhancing workflow efficiency while also increasing anonymity for camera owners who want to provide footage. However, the final authorization for access still remains with camera owners. They have the ability to discontinue their registration at any time. Once permission is provided no one, other than authorized city safety officials, has access.
Registration is free and no additional hardware or subscription is needed. Safety officials, under no circumstance, have livestream capabilities for registered cameras. Businesses who also wish to provide livestream capabilities will then have to complete the integration option.
Businesses who want to take their community safety efforts even further can integrate their cameras with the City’s Real Time Crime Center and Cleveland’s DPS team to provide self-selected livestream capabilities between the two systems by plugging in a small fususCORE device. The City provides devices and the installation free of charge. Those interested should fill out the online form and expect to be contacted by the City. The City is available to assist businesses by answering any questions, scheduling one-on-one meetings, or giving presentations. Those who need help should reach out to Camera Sharing Access Program Advocate, Gary Brown, at firstname.lastname@example.org. FUSUS also has a tech support team to assist if needed.
Like the Registration option, businesses completely own the data and footage and maintain full control of the level of access they provide to safety officials. This policy-based flexible sharing model gives camera owners authority to decide whether they want to share the livestream continuously, for emergencies only, or another time they designate. Camera owners can also modify these settings or revoke permission at any time. Similar to Registration, once permission is provided for Integration only authorized city safety officials have access, who use them on an as-needed basis. It is not monitored 24/7 by the City.
Through this integration option, safety officials are able to get critical information via live video feeds that can then be relayed to paramedics, firefighters, officers, and other first responders allowing for a faster and more appropriate response to an incident – whether that’s administering first aid, employing de-escalation tactics, or being joined by a mental health specialist – which could be the difference between life and death.
“This program, along with the expansion of ShotSpotter and addition of crime analysts to each district, is part of the all-encompassing technological approach to public safety we have embraced,” added Mayor Bibb. “We will continue to look for innovate ways to maximize technology to best ensure the safety of our residents. Doing so increases efficiency, decreases costs, and, most importantly, saves lives.”
FUSUS' award-winning products are widely-trusted and supported by cities throughout the nation including Orlando, Minneapolis, Winston-Salem, and most recently, Toledo. They’ve expanded internationally and supported over 150 global communities and 10,000 911 calls every day last year, including in Rocky Mount, North Carolina – where video directly led to 89 solved cases, 30 firearms and $211,568 recovered; Bay County, Florida – where it helped recover 6 missing persons and 26 stolen vehicles, identified 7 hit-and-run suspects, and found 32 wanted individuals; and Atlanta, Georgia – where it’s network of over 17,000 cameras has been reported to be very successful in solving multiple homicide cases. FUSUS has also been deployed for major events like the SuperBowl, PGA Tour, and X Games.
Their secure platform uses the highest levels of encryption and does not utilize facial recognition technology. They have various safeguards in place to ensure the efficacy of their policy-based sharing model, where camera owners set parameters for access. More information on privacy can be found on the FAQ page.