At the Nov. 1 City Council Study Session, Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) Chief Mark Stainbrook reported a 34% decrease in crime since the launch of the Real Time Watch Center (RTWC) in June. Unveiled by Mayor Lili Bosse at her installation in April, the RTWC uses state-of-the-art technology to monitor the city’s sprawling surveillance network 24/7, which includes nearly 2,000 CCTV cameras, automatic license plate readers (ALPRs) unmanned aerial systems (drones), a fusion cell and Live911, a new system that allows officers to hear emergency calls live in the field as they come in and immediately respond without having to wait for instructions from dispatch. With nearly half a million dollars approved by the City Council to establish the surveillance hub in April, BHPD has since trained Virtual Patrol Operators from Covered 6 and Nastec International in CCTV monitoring, coordinated drone operations, installed 31 new license plate readers, and implemented Live911 software in the RTWC.
Citing “several incidents in the flats,” Councilmember Sharona Nazarian asked about using drones to assist officers in patrolling residential streets. In the past week, BHPD sent out four alerts for three crimes via Nixle, a community information service. On Oct. 28, officers detained a suspect for a robbery near Elevado Avenue and Beverly Drive. On Oct. 30, BHPD investigated a burglary on the 1300 block of Park Way, but no suspects were located. On Oct. 31, BHPD made an arrest for trespassing on the 500 block of North Palm Drive.
“Based on what happened in the flats, we have been putting one more of the Covered 6 and Nastec in the flats,” Chief Stainbrook said. “As I mentioned, the camera operators will go up and down the streets as well where we have camera coverage. And when they’re not responding to a call, the drones are doing the same thing. They’re basically flying in patterns, looking for suspicious activity.”
According to Stainbrook, the 34% decrease in crime since June 2022 is the result of a few different factors. “We are hearing anecdotally that criminals know not to come here, and if they come here, they will be caught and we will go and find them even if it’s months later,” the Chief said. Last week, BHPD arrested a suspect in connection with an Aug. 15 shooting outside Nusr-Et Steakhouse that left one man hospitalized. Stainbrook noted that the break in the Nusr-Et case was, in part, due to the new technology being used.
In September, the new drone program helped law enforcement with the arrest of multiple suspects who were connected to a smash and grab robbery in March at a jewelry store on South Beverly Drive. The department also recently purchased a drone with a spotlight and with a speaker microphone that can talk to people on the ground. Next, BHPD will work on high priority intersections and upgrading and expanding residential CCTV cameras.
Since the inception of the RTWC, ALPRs have helped police recover 25 stolen vehicles and make 38 arrests, intercepting those driving stolen cars or suspects with active warrants. Four additional ALPR’s will also be activated on Rodeo Drive.
“We knew some crimes were happening between noon and 5 p.m. every Friday, Saturday, Sunday,” Chief Stainbrook said. “We redeployed the security staff very specifically and strategically in certain areas of the city, and the crime just took a huge drop in those areas because of how we deployed the security staff. So, we kind of used them as a force multiplier.”
Now, BHPD keeps one officer from Nastec and one from Covered 6 at the RTWC working with the watch commander, communicating with those on the ground, and making sure security staff is deployed.
According to Stainbrook, the new technology has been an invaluable resource in helping detectives follow up on investigations. Councilmember John Mirisch requested statistics from BHPD that charts the department’s rate of solving crime. “I’m convinced that we would see that we’re solving a much higher percentage of the crimes that do occur, in addition to the ones that we deter, than in surrounding areas,” Mirisch said.
In terms of aggravated assaults, Stainbrook noted that BHPD is making between six and eight arrests each month. However, it’s unclear out of how many.
“If there is anything technology wise, whether it’s drones, whether it’s any suggestions that you’ve heard today, and you find that it’s something that we can do, let’s get it done,” Mayor Bosse said. “We’ll put it on the next agenda, whatever it is you need.”