ST. LOUIS, MO. – Mayor Jones, in partnership with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, released the first annual comprehensive report on the use of surveillance technology. Overall, the use of surveillance technology, with appropriate policies in place that offer strong protections for civil liberties, bolsters the City’s ability to address violent crime, especially shooting incidents.

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“Publishing this report helps the St. Louis community see that the concerns they have expressed and their advocacy for increased transparency in surveillance technology have been heard, received, and acted upon by my administration and SLMPD,” said Mayor Tishaura O. Jones.

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In 2023, St. Louis had 21 percent fewer homicides and a 22 percent decrease in part one crime. The Mayor’s public safety approach centers prevention, intervention and enforcement. Surveillance technology can be a vital tool for law enforcement to get to the scene of the crime quickly and as an investigative tool to bring justice to victims of crime.

To guarantee transparency, Mayor Jones issued Executive Order 78 on February 23. This order requires the SLMPD to report on the use of surveillance technology in advance of the first SLMPD-related hearing of the Board of Aldermen’s budgetary process. This year, the budget hearing for SLMPD is scheduled for May 16.

The Executive Order requires the department to describe how the technology is used, if the technology uses artificial intelligence, how many units of the technology the City uses, how its effectiveness is measured, how the technology is funded, how it is requested, if there have been complaints against the police for the use of specific technology, and which partnerships exist to use the technology.

Policies related to the use of surveillance technology can be found publicly on SLMPD’s website and have been available since late February. Of particular note, ShotSpotter, now known as SoundThinking, operates in 6.26 square miles of the City of St. Louis, or only 10 percent of the City’s total land. As a result of SoundThinking, officers collected shell cases on the scene on shooting and assault cases, even in the event no 911 call was made. Camera data for the city is retained for 30 days and license plate reader data is retained for 90 days.

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