Mayor Adams Launches Pilot To Tackle Retail Theft, Boost Efficiency, Enhance Police-Community Ties With Tech

May 16, 2024

NYC Mayor Eric Adams, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks III, and NYC Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Edward A. Caban today announced the launch of a pilot program utilizing technology to protect public safety.

This including by combatting retail theft, quality-of-life offenses, and crime overall — while simultaneously increasing efficiencies and improving community relations between local police precincts and the New Yorkers they serve. The community-based security camera integration platform — operated by public safety technology company Fusus by Axon — will enable businesses to voluntarily share information in real-time with the NYPD through existing closed-circuit television cameras as they seek to solve crimes. The program builds off of the Adams administration’s “Retail Theft Report” released last year and is the newest advancement in the NYPD’s work leveraging innovative technologies to protect public safety and further drive down crime, while having New Yorkers and local businesses take a more proactive role in improving quality of life across the five boroughs. 

“New Yorkers don’t feel like things are working when everything from toothpaste to laundry detergent is locked up, and businesses across the five boroughs should be able to operate without fear of losing income because of retail theft. We cannot allow shoplifters and organized crime rings to prey on businesses any longer,” said Mayor Adams. “Retail theft hurts our businesses, our workers, our customers, and our city. But by allowing businesses to integrate their security cameras with their local NYPD precinct, we can gather real-time intelligence on crimes and swiftly apprehend individuals who are responsible, while creating greater efficiencies within the NYPD and involving the local community in improving quality of life. This administration is committed to protecting public safety with every tool that we have to make sure New York City remains the safest big city in America.” 

“Partnering with our local businesses in this way will help to ensure a safer city for every New Yorker,” said NYPD Commissioner Caban. “NYPD investigators work relentlessly to curb all manner of illegal acts. This collaboration stands to make their efforts even more efficient and further this administration’s goal of eradicating the pervasive crime of retail theft.” 

Fusus is a camera integration platform that allows private businesses to voluntarily elect to register or integrate their security cameras with their local NYPD precinct. Camera registration informs the NYPD where cameras are located in case a crime or incident occurs, and camera integration provides the NYPD with real-time access to camera feeds. Business owners who opt-in to integrate their cameras with the NYPD have the ability to choose how and when their cameras are accessible to the police department, such as exclusively when an emergency situation arises. 

The pilot program aims to facilitate faster and more efficient investigations, deter retail theft and other crimes, provide enhanced situational awareness for law enforcement in case of emergencies, and promote community engagement between local business owners and the NYPD while tackling public safety in a more cost-effective and fiscally-responsible manner. 

In June 2023, the Mayor’s Office of Public Safety and the NYPD’s Real-Time Crime Center partnered with Fusus to launch a proof-of-concept for the program in the 109th Precinct at no cost to the city. In collaboration with local retailers in the Flushing community, including the Flushing Business Improvement District (BID) and College Point BID, 35 businesses enrolled in the proof-of-concept to register or integrate their cameras with the NYPD. 

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Based on intelligence gathered during the first 60 days of the proof-of-concept, the NYPD was able to close a citywide burglary pattern with 15 incidents tied to two individuals allegedly involved in a national retail theft operation who are currently in custody facing charges in other states and are pending arrest in New York. Police also arrested an alleged shoplifter on burglary charges for stealing more than $1,000 worth of merchandise from an eyeglass store. 

Following the completion of the proof-of-concept phase, the NYPD established a one-year agreement with Fusus for $1.5 million to expand the program to nine additional precincts in all five boroughs. Deployment areas are being determined based on several factors, including community input, quality-of-life complaints, and crime data. 

The NYPD continues to actively collaborate with community partners to facilitate the program’s expansion. Businesses interested in participation or seeking further information can visit the NYPD’s Fusus pilot program online to sign up. There is no cost for businesses to participate in this initiative. The NYPD is also looking at the possibility of whether Fusus can be expanded to include residential cameras on a closed-circuit feed, as other cities are currently operationalizing. 

“We welcome the Fusus technology pilot program to the 125th Street BID,” said Barbara Askins, president and CEO, 125th Street BID. “The BID is not seeking a solution that results in more arrests, but rather we see Fuses as a camera network system that can be a deterrent. We want those who are engaged in this activity to know that if you shoplift on 125th Street, you will be seen, and it can lead to an arrest.” 

“Safety is always a top priority in every neighborhood,” said Dian Song Yu, executive director, Downtown Flushing Transit Hub BID. “We are grateful to Mayor Adam for selecting downtown Flushing as one of the pilot locations. This program is a great example of how a partnership between private and public entities can keep a community safe and sound.” 

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