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Citrus Heights police awarded $2.7M grant for cameras to combat retail theft

File photo, a Citrus Heights police vehicle parks outside Lowe’s, in the Sunrise MarketPlace. // M. Hazlip

By Mike Hazlip—
In response to a statewide rise in brazen retail theft, the Citrus Heights Police Department has been awarded a state grant aimed at reducing organized retail theft in the area, with funds to go toward purchasing nearly 100 license plate reader cameras and other equipment.

The $2,752,138 grant is earmarked for installing 98 Flock Safety Falcon cameras and 11 Flock Safety Condor PTZ cameras throughout the city, according to a press release from the Board of State and Community Corrections. Flock Safety’s website describes its Falcon cameras as “an indispensable tool for modern law enforcement” and include license plate recognition technology, while the Condor cameras allow for “remote-controlled and recorded on-scene video.”

Cameras are to be placed in “strategic locations throughout the city to create an enhanced video wall with innovative Live 911 service.” The funds will also be used for six mobile security camera trailers that authorities expect will “enhance CHPD’s capacity to detect, respond to, and investigate instances of organized retail theft, motor vehicle theft, and motor vehicle accessory theft,” the release said.

The grant is designed to give local law enforcement agencies the funding and resources they need to successfully prosecute organized retail theft. Programs that qualify for the funds include data sharing along with surveillance and license plate trackers. Law enforcement agencies also had to demonstrate policies to protect privacy and avoid biases in their application, the release said.

In all, 38 police departments throughout California were awarded almost $270 million in grants. Neighboring agencies, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office and Roseville City Police Department, also received grants from the program. The three-year grant period starts Oct. 1, 2023.

“This is a huge priority of the Governor and Legislature and we are delighted to put this money out into the field,” said Board of State and Community Corrections Chair Linda Penner.

In a Sep. 12 release, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced what he said was the “largest-ever single investment to combat organized retail crime.”

“Enough with these brazen smash-and-grabs,” Newsom said. “With an unprecedented $267 million investment, Californians will soon see more takedowns, more police, more arrests, and more felony prosecutions. When shameless criminals walk out of stores with stolen goods, they’ll walk straight into jail cells.”

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