INDIANAPOLIS — There's a new, high-tech effort to help fight crime in Indianapolis.
The City of Indianapolis and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department on Wednesday unveiled Business Link - Indy, also known as B.Link. The program is designed to connect IMPD with security camera systems owned by businesses and homeowners across the city.
Linking the camera network together will help IMPD investigate crime. The initiative comes as part of Mayor Joe Hogsett's community-focused public safety strategy and follows more than $35 million in public safety technology upgrades, the city said.
"To prevent and solve crime in the 21st Century, we must embrace the technological advances of the 21st Century," Hogsett said. "With B.Link, footage that could potentially save a life or solve a crime will now help first responders do their jobs quicker and better."
The B.Link Pro uses cloud-based technology to connect the security camera systems directly with intelligence detectives at IMPD's Incident Analysis Center. Local businesses and organizations can securely share a live stream of video footage with law enforcement.
"A technology program may not be the first thing you think of when we talk about community policing, but the partnerships developed through B.Link are what this model is all about — policing with the community," IMPD Chief Bryan Roach said.
In order to protect privacy, live streams from businesses are not monitored by IMPD, but are accessed in the event of a call for service or report of a public safety threat, such as a disturbance.
The Indy Public Safety Foundation will act as a liaison between police and the business community and will be the main point of contact to connect potential partners with the resources needed to be part of the B.Link solution, the city said. Local organizations and businesses interested in participating in B.Link Pro can express their interest to the IPSF.
"We each have a role to play in creating a safer community," John Nightengale, COO for Big Red Liquors, a business that is part of the B.Link Pro pilot program, said. "With B.Link Pro, businesses like Big Red Liquors that have locations across the city now have a new tool to improve the safety of not only our stores, but also the surrounding neighborhoods and community members we serve."
The part of the program aimed at homeowners, B.Link Indy, will allow residents to register their private security camera locations. Unlike the business program, B.Link Indy-registered cameras will not be accessible to law enforcement. Instead, in the event of a crime in the area, detectives can reach out to registered B.Link Indy participants to request footage that may provide information critical to solving a case.
The city said the locations of cameras are only known to IMPD personnel and registration of a camera does not constitute automatic consent for IMPD to obtain camera footage.