Tuesday, February 14, 2023

UMC Goes Big Brother

UMC  issued the following statement. 

UMMC Police and Public Safety Department officers have a few extra pairs of eyes helping them keep employees, students, patients, visitors, and in many cases, their vehicles, safe.

Installed this semester in places where people park and walk in the densest numbers are 24 new security cameras that will phase out older, larger ones in place for at least 20 years.

Their solar-powered lenses are trained on vehicles and their license plates and are expected to make an immediate dent in vehicle-related crime, among the most often-reported to UMMC Police in 2022. Each possesses the kind of connectivity that will help arrest thieves, burglars and potentially more serious offenders.

“Say, for example, if your car is in a hit-and-run accident inside a parking garage, we’re able to then ask you what time you got here and what time you left, then eventually identify the vehicle that hit your car,” said Joshua Bromen, deputy chief of UMMC Police.

Each new camera is connected to the National Crime Information Center database, which provides information that helps law enforcement track plates of vehicles reported stolen or with switched or stolen plates, as well as missing/endangered people reports. Older cameras in use in the university’s 1,200-piece inventory of cameras are only closed-circuit TV capable and don’t have software to monitor vehicle license plates. 

“With the new cameras, we’re able to go back and look and see if any tags have been entered into NCIC and if they’ve been here at UMMC in a certain time period,” Bromen said. “And if you’re only able to tell us that a red car hit your car in one of the parking garages or if they had a ladder in the back of their truck, we can go in and search for a red car or search and see all trucks that have ladders in the back at that moment. These cameras help us build an intelligence network that helps us identify who the person is who might have hit your car.

“With the current system, it’s all ‘enclosed’, meaning there’s no intelligence component to them,” he said. “If you tell us it was a red car that hit your car, someone has to go back and sift through minute-by-minute every part of it.”

Those examples are part of a trend with vehicle crimes in metro Jackson that UMMC police have observed when assisting neighboring law enforcement agencies, he said.

“What’s happening in Mississippi and in the Jackson area is someone will steal a tag from the parking lot of a retail store from a vehicle that might look like their own vehicle,” Bromen said. “Most people don’t look at their tags every day, so it might be 3-5 days before they realize their real tag’s not on their car. During that time, someone has driven around in the car and committed burglary, auto thefts and other crimes.”

Hundreds of employees and students park daily in the lots around Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium, perhaps the largest area where new camera eyes are in place.

Dr. Joshua Mann, chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine and director of the Office of Well Being, is among those making the long walk to save money compared to using paid lots on campus and work in some physical fitness into his day.

“Ensuring UMMC is a safe place to work, learn, and receive care is of the utmost importance to all of us,” Mann said. “As someone who parks in the stadium lot every day, I’m thrilled to have the new security cameras there.”

New technology in policing UMMC’s 164-acre footprint in Jackson is but one part of a larger effort to be a key cog for cooperation with neighboring law enforcement agencies in crime prevention. Another part is coming from a renewed push to seek grant funds to pay for updated daily operations, such as evidence processing and storage, which is expected to get an upgrade from a recent $160,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bromen said. Such upgrades are required as the department seeks full accreditation with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, he said.

“We’re looking at a lot of grant opportunities so we can work together with jurisdictions like the VA police, JPD, the Jackson public school police, Capitol police, JSU police and Hinds County SO,” he said.

Bromen said UMMC PD is aware that some may have concerns regarding these types of technology. The department has strict policies and procedures for accessing and sharing personal information, including that of motor vehicles, he said, and invites anyone in the community with concerns to reach out to the department.

Crime totals for 2022 Bromen shared with supervisors and department heads this month showed simple assault against employees, simple assault in general and vehicle burglary were the most consistently reported crimes during the year.

Broken out, there were 51 reports of simple assault against employees, 27 reports of vehicle burglary, 26 reports of misdemeanor theft, 20 reports of simple assault, 16 reports of felony theft, eight reported drug offenses, seven weapon offenses, two reports of business burglary and one report each of strong-arm robbery, sexual assault and aggravated domestic assault.

“We traditionally see the highest numbers in the ED and psychiatric floors,” he said. “One of the reasons is simply the volume of patients and disorders that come through these areas.

“I encourage managers I meet with each month that if this occurs and we’re able to pursue charges, we really need victims of these reported crimes to follow through,” he said. “We’ll hold their hand through the process. Without accountability, there is no change in that kind of behavior.”

Bromen expects the new cameras to keep reports of the most commonly reported crimes to a minimum, given the size and traffic at UMMC and the daily challenges of crime fighting in Jackson. 

“You just look at the volume of people we run through here each year and the scale we operate on,” he said. “We have 10,000 employees and about 70,000 people through the emergency department each year. We know there’s lot of room for improvement, but with technology like this in place and quality training with our officers, we can get to a point where our customers can say, ‘Hey, our police department here is doing a better job.’ “

Employees and community members are encouraged to visit UMMC PD website to access the daily crime log and map listing all crimes reported on the property.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if they'll work as well as that often non-functioning crosswalk on State Street that they spent who knows how much money to build a few years ago. All it proved was that people are too lazy to walk 15 feet to use a crosswalk instead of jaywalking, that drivers are too stupid to understand what a blinking red light means even when it has a sign and that if it's broke no one will ever come by to fix it.

Anonymous said...

An island surrounded by crime on all four sides---

Anonymous said...

This should help prevent future fraud such as former deputy Phil Bryant blew the whistle on!

Anonymous said...

Can I say Good Work UMMC! JPD what’s your plan? I know, I know the Mayor wants to consult with Chief /Pastor Pickett prior to making any decisions.

Anonymous said...

GREAT ADDITION! Seems like I remember traffic cameras were installed at a few intersections that were able to collect tag info on traffic violations, running the light etc. What ever happened to this venture and how many ciations were mailed out to the law breakers and how much in fines were collected and how much did theser cameras cost? I guess this should be directed to the city officials.

Anonymous said...

3:58, the cameras went away when the "wrong" people were photographed.

Theca Jones of the Roguish Gent Podcast said...

For one damn post, can y'all just give a "congrats!" or a "good job" without mentioning the Mayor? It's obsessive at this point. Please go touch grass at that house y'all keep reminding us you had to move to. lol

Anonymous said...

Good for UMMC. They are fighting crime.

Anonymous said...

@4:59. Because all of “y’all” know the truth. These cameras may or may not work in 30 days, they may be stolen, torn down or just not maintained. Then in another couple years there will be another grant pursued for more crap that is neglected or doesn’t work because the lowest bid or brother n law of somebody installed sh$tty equipment. There is a difference between the truth and negativism. I’ve seen this play out over the years. Sad to say it.

Anonymous said...

All a camera will do is show a crime after it was committed. If camera's deterred crime banks and gas stations would be the safest places in town.

Anonymous said...

Watch towers with snipers would be a better deterrent of crimes.

Anonymous said...

The last time my car was hit at UMMC, it was a UMMC bus that did it.

And given the Barney Fife PD up there, well, good luck with anything.

Anonymous said...

6:52 - Well, UMMC Police are state employees, so we can blame any incompetence on Governor Tater. Isn't that how this works?

Anonymous said...

7:38 - Banks are pretty safe, but that is because the Feds are very good at tracking bank robbers down and giving them hard federal time (90% of the sentence no matter how good of a prisoner you are).

Anonymous said...

Cameras may not deter a criminals as most are stupid and uneducated, but it sure as hell helps put them in prison where they belong.
You also apparently are clueless about how difficult it is to "steal" a good security camera.

Anonymous said...

Good for UMMC. I wish Baptist Hospital would upgrade security. The parking lot and parking garage at Baptist are scary places, assuming you can get past the crazy homeless drug addicts littering the sidewalks in that area to find a parking space.

Anonymous said...

That "island" of healthcare will be a desolate wasteland in 25 years. They will abandon it and move eventually, just like Merit Health sliding into the suburbs.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:47,

I applaud UMMC for taking these steps to try and mitigate a problem, however, your comment about the safety of banks made me laugh. I can't recall where exactly but several years back there was a fella who robbed something like a dozen banks with a pair of drawers on his head looking through the leg hole.

Don't believe they ever caught the racing stripe bandit

Anonymous said...

Now, all the local criminals can have a video rap sheet, as they cycle through the porous judicial system, again and again.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully this feeds into the Jackson real time crime center.

Anonymous said...

3:58 - Those cameras, for citing traffic violations, were made illegal by the state legislature. Otherwise, we'd have what amounts to speed-traps, and right-turn on red traps, in half the towns in the state. Of course Madison, The City would require a camera in every back yard in town if they could.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has family and friends who work at UMMC and make that walk everyday, good job UMMC!

Anonymous said...

@8:19am Hi LouAnn!

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