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From the Mayor's Desk

From the Mayor's Desk: Smart Streetlight Program to Enhance Public Safety Moves Forward

Smart Streetlight

The City Council’s Public Safety Committee voted to advanced the San Diego Police Department’s proposal to use Smart Streetlights and Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) technologies to help investigate and solve crimes. 

The proposed technology would be installed at 500 initial locations throughout the city.  

SDPD has provided a wealth of information publicly as the program was vetted by the City’s Privacy Advisory Board. SDPD has also presented at nine community meetings across the city, and responded to more than 100 questions and requests for information from the Privacy Advisory Board and community members regarding Smart Streetlights and ALPR. 

A little more than 3,000 Smart Streetlights were deployed in San Diego before being deactivated in 2020 due to concerns over how the program was rolled out and questions about privacy protection. 

Prior to that, SDPD used Smart Streetlight data to help investigate and solve more than 400 crimes, including 26 hit-and-runs, 55 robberies or burglaries, 19 sex crimes, 10 carjackings and 56 murders or attempted murders.

One of those murders that Smart Streetlight data helped solved was in 2018 when Ghedeer Radda was killed in a robbery at his East Village business. Smart Streetlight footage helped investigators identify and arrest the suspects. My office heard from his niece Nicole last week about how Smart Streetlights helped family members rest easier knowing Ghedeer’s murderer is now behind bars. 

Police Chief David Nisleit says bringing back the use of Smart Streetlights will be a game-changer for the San Diego Police Department. Investigators will be able to home in on suspects more quickly and with greater precision.  

A Grand Jury Report released in June 2022 found that the use of Smart Streetlights by SDPD presented no valid privacy concerns and recommended that the Mayor and City Council authorize and fund the reinstatement of the use of Smart Streetlights immediately. 

Smart Streetlights and ALPR will now move forward to full City Council. On Tuesday, the Council will vote on the policy that will help protect civil liberties of San Diegans while also ensuring SDPD can use this crucial technology to solve crime. Click here to voice your support of this program. 

If approved, the department can then move forward with a contract for the technology and help keep San Diego one of the safest big cities in the country.

-Mayor Todd Gloria, July 24, 2023