The Dallas Police Department is starting a pilot program called Starlight that uses technology to fight crime and help keep the public safe at three convenience stores.

Cameras will be connected to police headquarters through the Starlight program, creating a “virtual patrol” system.

“With Motorola’s ingenuity, police officers at headquarters will be able to see in real time exactly what is happening at establishments that will be using the technology,” police explained in a press release.

The police department’s Real Time Crime Center will receive an alert if there is a 911 call from a Starlight participating business. Then the employees at the Real Time Crime Center can immediately access video from the location and can provide intelligence to responding officers.

Starlight will begin as a six-month pilot project in Dallas and there will be no fees for the selected business participants. The program was made possible through a donation from Safer Dallas, the city said.

Three stores in Dallas are currently using the technology outside their buildings:

  • 7-Eleven, 2911 E. Ledbetter Road
  • 7-Eleven, 2503 Lemmon Avenue
  • Ferguson Food Mart and Texaco Gas Station

Police explain that each of these convenience stores and gas stations have received a high volume of police calls.

The cameras also come with signage and a blue light alerting people that the establishment is being monitored in real time by police.

“The software embedded in the system has the ability to recognize anomalies that might indicate a crime in progress, such as a camera being covered or tampered with, sudden movements by individuals in view of the camera,” police said.

The system can also help with officer safety; allowing someone at the station of view the location remotely and tell responding officers exactly what they will encounter when they arrive.

Other cities that use the technology include Chicago, Illinois; Springfield, Massachusetts; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Detroit, Michigan. All these cities have reported reductions in violent crime at participating locations with their program, the city of Dallas says.

In January, the city of Dallas Public Safety and Criminal Justice committee will be given an update on the information gained through the pilot project.


Original article here.