COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Cobb County is historically known to be tough on crime.
Families move to the area for the highly ranked schools, quality of life, and safe neighborhoods.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, law enforcement officials saw a dramatic increase in violent crime. While the numbers are trending down in 2022, Cobb County police want to keep it that way.
On Friday, Cobb County police gave Channel 2′s Chris Jose exclusive access to its new real-time crime center.
Captain Billy Mitchell showed Jose some examples of some big arrests.
“You were able to track down all the suspects?” asked Jose.
“Absolutely. We were able to track them down as it was unfolding,” said Mitchell.
A live, real-time map shows all the calls for service and the GPS locations of every single officer on duty. Hundreds of cameras and license plate readers are plugged into the system.
Mitchell showed Jose video of street racers performing stunts near Cumberland Mall. The real-time crime center helped officers find the street racers and arrest them.
“They’re responding in the moment, being told in the moment, this is the vehicle you need to go after,” said Mitchell.
“It’s like you’re the offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator?” asked Jose.
“Absolutely. You’re calling the plays out,” said Mitchell.
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Interim police chief Stuart VanHoozer helped lead the charge to bring the real-time crime center to Cobb County.
“We don’t stop people that didn’t do it and we did stop people that did do it. That’s what we want,” said VanHoozer. “People, witnesses, and victims make mistakes. As do the police. We always want to make sure that we can remove those mistakes, the human factor, and we can actually say, ‘OK, we see this subject running away from the armed robbery.’”
VanHoozer told Jose his former boss, Mike Register, sent him to the New York Police Department to get ideas a few years ago.
Register is currently the assistant chief with the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office.
VanHoozer gave Jose an example of what he learned.
“Oftentimes when shots are fired in a community, nobody calls 911. They had automatic shot detection,” said VanHoozer. “The operators in the real-time crime center were able to take the cameras around the area of a shooting, and actually see the shooting,”
VanHoozer said he hopes to add shot detectors to Cobb’s real-time crime center, too.
He told Jose the next piece is getting local business owners and large apartment complexes integrated into the system.
The real-time crime center’s operating cost is estimated at $100,000.
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