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NYPD to fight rising retail theft with surveillance video monitoring program. Here's how it works.

NYPD to fight rising retail theft with surveillance video monitoring program
NYPD to fight rising retail theft with surveillance video monitoring program 02:12

NEW YORK -- There has been an increase in retail thefts across New York City so far this year. Already, the NYPD has reported a 5% bump compared to this time in 2023.

As a result, Mayor Eric Adams on Thursday announced the expansion of a pilot program to help fight that kind of crime, saying it involves tapping into businesses' security cameras.

According to the latest police stats, more than 21,000 retail theft incidents have been reported in 2024. The NYPD and Adams explained how the new technology works.

"We refuse to surrender to any form of criminality. We are not going to allow shoplifters and organizers' crimes to prey on small businesses," Adams said.

The city is now setting up a platform that allows certain businesses the ability share information and integrate its video surveillance with the NYPD in real time through closed-circuit television.

Police officials say that none of this is mandatory, adding businesses have to opt in to be a part of it. The new program is free for businesses that participate and the times the NYPD has access to cameras can be customized, adding it doesn't have to be 24-7.

NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban said it will help police fight more crime faster, since they can monitor it as it happens.

"It launched more efficient investigations, build stronger cases and leads to more effective prosecutions," Caban said.

Local businesses seem keen on the idea

Some security cameras and a part-time guard just aren't cutting it anymore at women's clothing business Danice Stores in Harlem.

"The stealing is too much for us to deal with," manager Jonathan Nii said.

Nii said robberies happen too often to count.

"Almost every day," Nii said, adding he can't wait to opt in to the city's expanded monitoring program.

The high-tech program started in Queens, but the city is now investing $1.5 million to expand to nine more precincts, including in Harlem, where Barbara Atkins, the president and CEO of the 125th Street Business Improvement District, works.

"It's really allowing the police to have access to the view where you think most shoplifting is taking place," Atkins said.

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