Chula Vista’s Real-Time Crime Center

Written by: Amanda Angulo

Over the last year, there have been several concerns from the public believing that the new technology being implemented into the police department is a violation of privacy. Chula Vista’s unique technologies to create a real-time crime center involve drones and license plate readers, which has been alarming to many.

For the long term, the police want to make sure that the drones and plate readers will help officers become their new set of “eyes and ears” in order to respond to the issue accordingly. While many still believe this is a breach in oversight, the police department intends to allow officers to receive camera feeds, mapping software, jail records, drones, and license plate readers all into “a single interface.”

After CVPD asked the City Council to sign a contract with Motorola Solutions for the single interface, they approved, and no one from the public spoke for nor against it. However, the public is still not fully aware of this project.

Captain Phil Collum wrote in an email that the real-time crime center is still in the process of being developed because people need to be trained, and there needs to be software figured out. Additionally, there will also be a sharing network of camera footage.

More specifically, police are considering folding footage from doorbell cameras into their network. In 2019, there was talk about the PD partnering with Amazon Ring to tap into residence’ doorbell cameras to stop package thefts. This will no longer happen.

Critics of this movement refer that drones are invading the privacy of many people. Many residents are concerned that their lives will constantly be recorded, a chilling thought to have in the back of your mind as you’re going about your day. Opponents view this matter as government intervention that has no place in invading their personal lives.

Mayor Mary Casillas Sala (D) recently said that “technology can be invasive, but it also is a tool, and it’s a necessary tool, and especially a necessary tool when we know that our city is growing, that we have a lot of strain in our community,” said Mayor Mary Casillas Salas.

Councilman Steve Padilla (D) has also favored the drones and claimed that “it’s not a network that is up and running and spying on people.” He continues, “it is there to provide data in real-time, and in the long term come up with analytics to prevent crime and enhance public safety.” Objectively, it seems as if these two statements contradict each other. In order to gather real-time data, the drones must constantly oversee their subjects. It appears that the Mayor and the councilman are manipulating the residents of Chula Vista.


Photo from: Adriana Heldiz